The Watering Hole, Monday, June 29, 2015: In Three Minutes, Rick Santorum Proves He’s Unfit To Be POTUS

In the span of about three minutes, Rick Santorum proved he has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to how the Government is supposed to function, and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House, let alone be its lawful occupant. Ricky thinks that the recent ruling on Marriage Equality will mean the end of the United States. He believes promoting heterosexual marriage is not only necessary “for the survival of our country,” but more important than talking about climate change.

He began by complaining, as conservatives often do when the SCOTUS rules against them (on account of them being wrong so much), that judges have been entering into the political realm more and more over the past few decades. (Personally, I trace it back to Reagan’s appointees, but that’s probably just me.) He then goes onto complain that they’re “making law” (untrue) and that their job is to “be referees between the Executive and Congressional branches.” Actually, Ricky, it’s more properly referred to as the Legislative branch. And it’s not the job of the SCOTUS to just be referees between the POTUS and the Congress. In fact, that’s not really what their job is at all. Their job is to decide if laws passed by the Congress violate the Constitution. Conservatives like to think that anything a Legislative body passes is automatically constitutional because their job is to pass laws. But being the types who don’t like to follow rules imposed by others (including the framers of the Constitution), Conservatives feel that you’re wrong to ever call them wrong. Many red states are already saying they won’t follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and will refuse to allow same sex couples to marry. And they would be violating their oaths of office if they do so, and could and should face impeachment and removal from office. But they should also face permanent disqualification from ever holding public office again. That’s the mistake Alabama made when they impeached their SCOTUS-disrespecting Chief Justice Roy Moore for refusing to obey the SCOTUS when it said he couldn’t order the Ten Commandments displayed in front of the Court House. They kicked him out of office, but didn’t bar him from holding office again. And now he’s once again the Chief Justice of Alabama and refusing to follow the Constitution again. But that’s another topic.

Ricky thinks that by striking down all statewide bans on same-sex marriage as violations of the federal Constitution, the judges are making law. That is not at all what is happening. Striking down unconstitutional laws is not making laws, it’s nullifying improper ones. No state, no matter how fervently is citizens or (in most cases) its conservative legislature wants to do it, can pass a law repugnant to the Constitution. But then, Conservatives have never liked Marbury v. Madison, because they don’t like being told they can’t do what they want. So it’s not surprising that Ricky thinks the SCOTUS should: a) no longer have lifetime appointments and be elected, instead; b) not have jurisdiction over certain topics; and, c) be required to hear all appeals to their rulings. That’s not at all the way the framers intended it, Ricky. They didn’t want the federal judiciary to be forced to run for office because they knew they would have to appeal to the lowest common denominator to get elected, and that often results in bad judges with misguided priorities. They also intended the jurisdiction of the Judicial branch of our government to be able to settle all disputes, not just the ones you feel comfortable letting them decide. And they also intended that their rulings be final and the Law of the Land. But then that would mean not letting Conservatives do whatever they want to do to the rest of us with impunity.

The Fox News hosts then went on to lament that heterosexual marriage is in decline and that more and more people are choosing to raise families out of wedlock, and that might somehow be a bad thing. But Ricky thinks that instead of using the power of the bully pulpit to discuss climate change, that the president should be putting all of that energy into trying to promote heterosexual marriage. Is that really a valid argument to the declaration that marriage need not depend on the genders of the two people getting married? That’s where it started, but Ricky and the Fox hosts think that all children should be raised in a home where the parents are married. That would be nice, except it doesn’t match Reality. In real life, people die or get divorced, and children grow up with only one parent. That doesn’t make them bad or immoral people, but the way Conservatives talk about “family,” you’d think any kid who grew up without both a male and female parent in the house could never turn out good. (Presidents Clinton and Obama might disagree.) But if marriage is something never once mentioned in the Constitution, and if it’s therefore supposed to be left entirely up to the states to decide who can and cannot enter into these civil arrangements (which, legally, is all they are), then why does Ricky think the president should be talking about it? Why shouldn’t the president talk about Climate Change, and what we should do to counter or slow its worsening effects?

Climate Change is real. It’s not a hoax cooked up by climate scientists to make a lot of money. It is being worsened by human activity, specifically but not limited to, the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. (There’s no such thing as “clean burning fossil fuels.” The fossil fuel industry just wants you to believe that, or to doubt those of us who rightly claim it’s a lie.) We are close to the point where the cumulative effects of pumping all that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will not only make the air unbreathable (since we insist on letting the rain forests, those things with all the living things that can breath carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, be destroyed at a breath-taking rate), it will also raise the overall temperature of the planet. This will cause the oceans to warm up and provide storms with more heat and energy. This will cause the storms we do get, no matter what time of year, to be larger, more intense, and more destructive. You can expect to hear about record breaking storms for the next few decades. In fact, if you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. Will fighting the problem cost money? Of course it will, don’t be silly. The reason the situation is as bad as it is is precisely because we tried to find the least expensive ways to produce energy, instead of the smartest ways. Conservatives would have you believe that anything that reduces profits is a bad thing, even if what the profits are being diverted from is killing the planet. And we can’t regulate businesses to stop polluting our biosphere, because government regulations make the Baby Jesus cry.

I’m getting tired of these people.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Little Ricky Santorum, marriage equality, climate change, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 18, 2015: Bryan Fischer Threatens Violence

There are some male opponents of same-sex marriage who desperately need for it to remain illegal lest they leave their wives and follow their hearts to find the man of their dreams and settle down to a life of happiness. I’m beginning to wonder if Bryan Fischer is one of them. The very idea that the Supreme Court might actually strike down all bans on marriage equality and declare it a constitutional right (thanks, in part, to Justice Antonin Scalia’s own opinions, in which he suggested the strategy to use for marriage equality proponents to win) has Fischer scared. Very scared. But what does he have to fear if his own marriage is solid and loving? In what way would the right of people (who have no interest in him) to marry each other affect him? Is he afraid that the last thing to stop him from leaving his wife to shack up with another man is a law making that relationship with that man illegal? What else makes sense? Unless he means the violence.

Fischer is pretending that what he fears is the civil unrest that a ruling in support of marriage equality would make inevitable.

“The Supreme Court can be slapped down through a deliberative and representative process,” he said, “rather than through chaos and civil unrest which I and a lot of other pro-family leaders fear is the alternative. If the Supreme Court continues to overreach and they aren’t checked, we are headed towards civil unrest, I don’t think there is any other way around it. If it’s not stopped and reversed, the tyrannical overreach of the Supreme Court, we are to have social dislocation and I believe we are going to have violence as a result. And that is simply because freedom is too deeply ingrained in the DNA of the American people to permit tyranny to continue unchecked forever. The solution: state legislatures rediscovering their constitutional authority under the Ninth and 10th Amendments. “

Tell us something, Bryan. Who would be committing these acts of chaos, these acts of civil unrest, these acts of violence? Would it be the people who support marriage equality? Or would it be the people like you and the other “pro-family leaders” who will be taking to the streets to spread chaos, be civilly unrestful, and commit acts of violence? I think we who support marriage equality are the ones who have something to fear from the people who oppose it, not the other way around. When we start hearing we might lose, we start taking action to elect Democratic Senators and Presidents who will make sure these socially deficient rulings are reversed. When your side starts hearing it might lose, you talk about taking to the streets and committing violence. Who are the real domestic terrorists in this scenario, the ones who want a peaceful remedy to our disagreements, or the ones who talk casually about violence?

Lastly, I think you States Rights’ advocates don’t seem to have gotten the memo yet. The Constitution is not the Articles of Confederation. You keep talking about how the States have the power to enact these same-sex marriage bans because the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to regulate marriage. You frequently refer to the Tenth Amendment and how it means the States have the power over things the federal government doesn’t. But that’s only partly correct. First, you’re deliberately misinterpreting the Ninth Amendment as having something to do with States’ Rights. A plain reading of it proves it doesn’t. Here it is.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

You have to read the Tenth Amendment in conjunction with the Ninth to understand why the People have rights even the states can’t take away.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In all your States’ Rights talk, you leave out the rights reserved to the people, the ones who have specifically have rights not mentioned in the Constitution. And one of those rights reserved to the people is the right to marry the person of your choice. Not people, not pets, not some perversion I don’t wish to name, but person. One person. So stop the polygamy and polyandry claims, stop the bestiality claims, stop the perversion claims. Nobody has ever seriously argued that marriage should be between anything other than two, and only two, people. (Some nutjobs might have, but they are few in number and can safely be regarded as totally without public influence. In fact, if you never brought them up, we’d never hear about them.)

You also leave out the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the most important constitutional amendments in human history. Without the 14th, your 1st Amendment rights mean nothing. If you read the Bill of Rights carefully, it says nothing about the States not being allowed to infringe upon your right to freedom of religion, or free speech, or a free press, or free assembly, or the freedom to petition the government. The 14th Amendment does. It says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That means the rights you have as a federal citizen are now the rights you have as a citizen of your state. So your state can’t block your right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or petitioning. What never ceases to amaze me, Bryan, is how you States’ Rights advocates get all up in arms about freedoms you claim the federal government is taking away from its citizens, but you are perfectly happy with your own state taking away those same freedoms. So why are you so opposed to the federal government saying the states can’t deny citizens within its borders their right to marry? What is it you’re so afraid will happen. Bryan? That you’ll run out into the streets to commit acts of violence against your fellow citizens, or that you’ll leave your wife for another man? I’ll support you 100% on the latter, but not on the former.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to make fun of Bryan Fischer’s paranoia, how my interpretations of the Constitution are off the mark, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 6,2015: Conservatives Think About Gay Sex A Lot

Pat Robertson is a frightened man. That’s not any new insight, we’ve all known that for years. But with the outcry over Indiana’s RFRA law (which was neither the first, nor was it identical to the early versions), and their subsequent “acquiescence” to those protests, Old Man Pat has come to believe his worst nightmares are coming true: Gay people will be accepted into Society as equals. And when that happens, somehow they’ll take over the world.

“They’re going to force you into their mold, they’re going to make you conform to political correctness, they’re going to make you do what the Left thinks is right, they’re going to make you acknowledge homosexual marriage, they’re going to make you embrace lifestyles that you think are anti-biblical despite your religious belief.”

There’s a lot wrong with those few sentences, including both projection and cognitive dissonance. Whether or not they realize it, Conservative Christians want everybody to be compelled by law to follow their religious beliefs. When you talk about making our laws conform to the Bible, you are imposing your religion on everyone else. If you can’t understand that, then perhaps you should sit back and let the rest of us talk. It is a fact. It is what they want. As for “political correctness,” I ignore that term. It was created by a right wing misanthrope named David Horowitz, and it only makes sense within the framework of an extremely conservative mind. Essentially, it’s a complaint conservatives have when they get called out for saying the kind of hateful, ignorant, bigoted things they’re known for saying. As for making people do things that anybody says is right, that’s what laws are for. Our entire system of laws is based on somebody’s (often a lot of somebodies) idea of what the right way to behave in our society is. So, yes, we on the Left think there’s a certain way you should behave toward your fellow citizens. If people on the right have a problem with it, it’s because they want the legal right to mistreat, abuse, demean, or otherwise put down people different from themselves. Are we going to make you acknowledge homosexual marriage? Only in the sense that we want you to see it as “marriage,” and not anything different than what you’re used to. If you define a marriage by the style of sex you have, then your definition of marriage is the problem. As for the last part, “they’re going to make you embrace lifestyles that you think are anti-biblical despite your religious belief,” exactly what does that mean? Homosexuality is not a “lifestyle choice,” no matter how much the frightened straight people claim it is. And nobody is asking anybody to “embrace” homosexuality, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. As for it being “anti-Biblical,” that’s just too fucking bad. Lots of things are “anti-Biblical.” Lots of those same things are perfectly fine according to other people’s religious beliefs. Why should things that are “anti-Biblical” be singled out for being banned by law? Why should some particular interpretation of “The Bible” become the basis for the way the rest of us live? Why does it matter so much what kind of sex people have? As long as it’s consenting adults participating (of any gender and number), why should it be any of our business? If you want to claim people should live by the Bible, then prove it. Pick up a stone and start stoning all those people who work on the Sabbath. Stone the farmer who plants two different crops in his field. Stone that woman wearing a dress made from two different cloths. They’re just as deserving as the two men who love each other and want to live as a loving married couple just like anybody else. (I almost never hear anti-marriage equality people complain about lesbians getting married, except for Ellen, it’s always the guys getting married that bothers them. “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” You never hear, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Alice and Eve.” I tell you, they think about gay male sex a lot more than they want to admit.

And Old Man Pat Robertson is definitely one of them. After going on that rant he came back the next day to continue thinking out loud.

“It doesn’t matter what custom you’ve got, it doesn’t matter what holy thing that you worship and adore, the gays are going to get it,” Robertson said. “They’re going to make you conform to them. You are going to say you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality, you like anything you can think of, whatever it is. And sooner or later you are going to have to conform your religious beliefs to the group of some aberrant thing. It won’t stop at homosexuality.”

One more time, Conservatives. Bestiality has nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality. And homosexuals aren’t the only ones engaging in anal sex or oral sex. Many, many straight couples enjoy them, too, and nobody says we should deny service to straight married couples who engage in, what are legally called, acts of sodomy. And “liking” homosexuality does not equate to liking “anything you can think of.” That is just ignorant bigotry talking there, and why anybody would value the opinion of a man who believes such things is beyond me. Old Man Pat began this rant talking about the owners of Memories Pizza in Indiana, saying they should have kept their mouths shut. But if they did, there wouldn’t have been $842,387 raised on their behalf. The pizza owners claim their viewpoints (which they did not have to give) were misrepresented in the media. They claim they would be happy to serve gay people, but they just wouldn’t cater to a gay wedding. I hate to admit I agree with Pat, so I’ll just say that coincidentally enough, Pat agrees with me on this. This was an issue that would rarely, if ever, come up, because hardly anybody serves pizza at a wedding. But here’s the thing – by specifically saying they wouldn’t serve their pizzas to a couple holding a gay wedding, without specifying any other Biblical violations for whom they would deny service, they are admitting that the Bible has nothing to do with their viewpoint. The fact that they would be willing to serve gay people, just not their weddings, shows they are not adhering to Biblical principles. If the Bible is the reason they would deny wedding services to gay people, then they should be denying all services to gay people. After all, I’m sure they don’t question every woman who comes in to see if she is on her period. So the Bible can’t be the reason for their policy. But the Indiana law, as originally passed, would have given them the right to deny service to anybody they chose by citing their religious beliefs. It doesn’t have to actually be their religious beliefs, they just have to say it is. THAT’S what’s wrong with religious freedom laws like that – you are allowed to openly lie in court and claim something completely false led you to do what you did (or not do what you didn’t do.)

But Old Man Pat is not the only one confused about gay people. Mike Huckabee apparently has gay people confused with atheists. After insisting in an interview with Tony Perkins that the whole discussion about how far people can go to oppress the rights of gay people is a “manufactured crisis” (Huckabee insists the “war on woman” is a manufactured crisis, and that there is no war on women. Of course, what we call a “war on women” is just, to the Conservatives, Christians exercising their freedoms), Mikey went into full Conservative Defensive Projection mode. “The left has gotten very good on creating a crisis, something to divide the country, something to create this sense in which ‘we’ve got to go after these conservatives because they are trying to trample over our rights.'” Really, Mike? Can you say, “Benghazi”? He then went on to make the remarkable comparison:

“It is a classic example of — really a page out of ‘1984,’ when what things mean are the opposite of what they really are. And that’s what I’m seeing here is that in the name of tolerance, there’s intolerance. In the name of diversity, there’s uniformity. In the name of acceptance, there’s true discrimination.”

Let me stop you right there, Mikey. Never mind the fact that “1984” was about a lot more than just words meaning the opposite of what they really mean, about this whole “tolerance” thing. Conservative Christians simply do not understand the concept of tolerance. They seem to think that tolerant people are supposed to tolerate intolerant behavior, such as that exhibited by people who say the kinds of anti-LGBT things Conservative Christians are always being quoted saying. And we aren’t asking for uniformity in the name of diversity. Where the hell did you get that stupid idea? Frank Luntz? And, again, how is not accepting your discriminating behavior an example of discrimination on our part? You are the ones twisting words around, and projecting your own feelings onto us. Perky suggested that gay people who are denied service by one business should just go find another? But what if there are no others because your state law says places open to the public do not have to accommodate the public? He asks Mikey, “Where will it stop?”

“It won’t stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel, and I’m talking now about the unabridged, unapologetic Gospel that is really God’s truth.”

What Mikey ignores is that there is quite a lot of disagreement over what constitutes the “unabridged, unapologetic Gospel that is really God’s truth.” Does it happen, in his mind, to coincide with the version of Christianity that he thinks is “correct”? I would argue that precisely because there are so many different flavors of Christianity that there is, in fact no such thing as an “unabridged, unapologetic Gospel that is really God’s truth.” As for where it stops? It stops, Perky, when guys like you stop using your Bible to insist that the rest of the country behave according to your religion’s rules. Your religion is just as false as all the other versions of your religion, and just as wrong as all the other deity-based, Creationist religions. Your belief system makes zero sense to a mind capable of critical thought. To insist that it’s correct if you have “faith” is the same as saying, “It makes sense if you don’t try to make sense out of it.” If that’s what your belief system comes down to, then it cannot and should not be the basis of anybody’s laws. And it cannot and should not be accepted as a valid argument against any law. Later, Mikey insisted that “unlike the gay community, conservative Christians would never boycott a business like Walmart.” Not only did Perky immediately say he was boycotting Walmart over their objections to Arkansas’ RFRA, but Mikey forgot about the conservative boycotts encouraged by Townhall.com a couple of years ago. Out of five companies being suggested for boycotts, only one was for anything to do with LGBT rights. The other reasons were unions, MoveOn.org, Alec Baldwin, and Obamacare. And I’ll say this again and for the record: Yes, I am an atheist, but I am not totally unfamiliar with the teachings of the Biblical character known as Jesus. And I do not believe that those teachings could at all be characterized as “Conservative.” Caring for the health and well being of strangers is antithetical to the philosophy of Conservatism, but central to the teachings of Jesus. So the term “Conservative Christian” must be an oxymoron. It is impossible to follow the teachings of Jesus and still be Conservative. And if you’re following the philosophy of Conservatism, then you cannot be following the teachings of Jesus. The two are incompatible. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jesus had nothing to say about whether or not gay people should be ostracized from society. I do remember hearing that, like many of us Atheists, Jesus encouraged you to treat other people the way you yourself would want to be treated.

This post is from a much longer one on my own blog. You are encouraged to read the original here.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss LGBT rights, Old Man Pat, Mikey, Perky, or any other closeted gay men you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: Did I say that out loud?

via Raw Story

The current Bob Jones, who, unfortunately for the rest of us, seem to run in perpetuity, has regrets.  He now allows that gay people should not be stoned, although they are still sinners.

“I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago,” Jones said in a statement. “Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger—were my name not attached.”

“I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners,” he added.

In other words, “I can’t believe I said that out loud.”

But, looking on the bright side, since it seems that we’re ALL sinners in the eyes of the mythical sky fairy, then that puts homosekshuls on equal footing with the rest of us — hence equal rights for everyone!!  Yay, Bob Jones III!

I’m sure he’s right onboard with the idea…right?

This is our daily open thread — Sorry so late!!

Sunday Roast: Until we could

Poem by Richard Blanco

I knew it then, in that room where we found for the first time our eyes, and everything— even the din and smoke of the city around us— disappeared, leaving us alone as if we stood the last two in the world left capable of love, or as if two mirrors face-to-face with no end to the light our eyes could bend into infinity.

I knew since I knew you—but we couldn’t…

I caught the sunlight pining through the shears, traveling millions of dark miles simply to graze your skin as I did that first dawn I studied you sleeping beside me: Yes, I counted your eyelashes, read your dreams like butterflies flitting underneath your eyelids, ready to flutter into the room. Yes, I praised you like a majestic creature my god forgot to create, till that morning of you suddenly tamed in my arms, first for me to see, name you mine. Yes to the rise and fall of your body breathing, your every exhale a breath I took in as my own wanting to keep even the air between us as one.

Yes to all of you. Yes I knew, but still we couldn’t…

I taught you how to dance Salsa by looking into my Caribbean eyes, you learned to speak in my tongue, while teaching me how to catch a snowflake in my palms and love the grey clouds of your grey hometown. Our years began collecting in glossy photos time-lining our lives across shelves and walls glancing back at us: Us embracing in some sunset, more captivated by each other than the sky brushed plum and rose. Us claiming some mountain that didn’t matter as much our climbing it, together. Us leaning against columns of ruins as ancient as our love was new, or leaning into our dreams at a table flickering candlelight in our full-mooned eyes.

I knew me as much as us, and yet we couldn’t….

Though I forgave your blue eyes turning green each time you lied, but kept believing you, though we learned to say good morning after long nights of silence in the same bed, though every door slam taught me to hold on by letting us go, and saying you’re right became as true as saying I’m right, till there was nothing a long walk couldn’t resolve: holding hands and hope under the street lights lustering like a string of pearls guiding us home, or a stroll along the beach with our dog, the sea washed out by our smiles, our laughter roaring louder than the waves, though we understood our love was the same as our parents, though we dared to tell them so, and they understood.

Though we knew, we couldn’t—no one could.

When the fiery kick lines and fires were set for us by our founding mother-fathers at Stonewall, we first spoke defiance. When we paraded glitter, leather, and rainbows made human, our word became pride down every city street, saying: Just let us be. But that wasn’t enough. Parades became rallies—bold words on signs and mouths until a man claimed freedom as another word for marriage and he said: Let us in, we said: love is love, proclaimed it into all eyes that would listen at every door that would open, until noes and maybes turned into yeses, town by town, city by city, state by state, understanding us and the woman who dared say enough until the gravel struck into law what we always knew:

Love is the right to say: I do and I do and I do…

and I do want us to see every tulip we’ve planted come up spring after spring, a hundred more years of dinners cooked over a shared glass of wine, and a thousand more movies in bed. I do until our eyes become voices speaking without speaking, until like a cloud meshed into a cloud, there’s no more you, me—our names useless. I do want you to be the last face I see—your breath my last breath,

I do, I do and will and will for those who still can’t vow it yet, but know love’s exact reason as much as they know how a sail keeps the wind without breaking, or how roots dig a way into the earth, or how the stars open their eyes to the night, or how a vine becomes one with the wall it loves, or how, when I hold you, you are rain in my hands.

Stunning.

If I’d loved like this, I wouldn’t have done my part in the destruction of the “sanctity of marriage.”  Although, I guess it’s okay to inflict all manner of destruction on the institution of marriage, as long as you’re in a marriage with someone of the opposite sex — which is really idiotic, if you think about it.

This is our daily open threadMarriage equality now!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 23, 2013: Does Freedom of Religion Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

An interesting vote is going to take place next year in Oregon. A group called “Oregon United For Marriage” is close to collecting enough signatures for a ballot initiative making marriage equality the law of the land there. This past week they announced they were about 1,200 signatures short of the number needed, and Nike announced they were donating $280,000 to help them collect more, in case any of the signatures are ruled invalid. They aren’t the only ones collecting signatures. The group Oregon Family Council, conservative Christians (an oxymoron, as there is nothing conservative about Christ’s teachings), filed a ballot initiative to “guarantee the right of people and businesses to refrain from participating in or supporting ceremonies for same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships or marriages, if those violate their religious beliefs.” Actually, the proposal specifically says “deeply held religious beliefs.” And that leads to an important question. Does the freedom of religion equal the freedom to discriminate?

The First Amendment (the one that comes before the one about guns) begins, Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Saturday September 8, 2012 – Wherein I Salute Chris Kluwe

Our story, at least the part that immediately pertains to us, begins in February of this year when the state of Maryland passed a marriage equality law. In order to gain passage in the House of Delegates, the bill’s authors had to agree to allow for someone to try to get a ballot referendum vote in November. At the time, polls were evenly split on the issue among the people of Maryland. But that was before President Obama came out in support of marriage equality, after a little prodding by Vice President Joe Biden. (How can you not love Joe?) Between those two events, opponents of the new law managed to get the issue onto a ballot referendum. After Obama announced his support for marriage equality, polls among African American voters showed increasing support.

Enter Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo. A long time supporter of marriage equality, his support only recently came to the attention of long time marriage equality opponent, Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr., who voted against the bill when it came up for a vote. (And, yes, he is a Democrat, and a Baptist Minister.) Delegate Burns let out a sound like a startled chicken squawking and, using his official Delegate letterhead paper, fired off a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, demanding that he “take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.” One has to wonder how someone who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States (similar in wording to the one I took nearly thirty years ago) could advocate the suppression of anyone’s First Amendment Rights. One of those who wondered was Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

And this is where Mr. Kluwe earns my salute. In a series of posts on the Twitter, Mr. Kluwe, in no uncertain terms, expresses his distaste for what the Delegate has done.

Holy crap. I leave Twitter for a couple hours and I come back to find this garbage? This guy is literally an asshole.The only way I can fathom spewing that type of shit out of your mouth is if your colon reversed flow and you vomited actual fecal matter. And yes, I’m referring to the politician, though to call him that denigrates the few politicians that still deserve the name. It honestly baffles me that in this day and age, someone can think stifling another’s right to free speech is somehow ok. There’s not a lot that gets me seriously angry, but that’s one of the few things on the list. Demand better from your government. Demand better from yourself.

And just to make sure there’s even less chance of uncertainty as to where Mr. Kluwe stands, he posted an open letter on Deadspin.com, laced with profanities, essentially telling Delegate Burns off.

Mr. Kluwe, I salute you. It is people like you who make me proud to have worn the uniform in service to this country, defending the very rights you so freely exercised. I thank you for writing the letter, and I thank you for being on the right side of history.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]