Posts Tagged ‘Prop 8’

Sorry Bishops, This is Not a Theocracy

November 12, 2008

The government of the United States, or individual states are not theocracies and should not be ruled by the religious beliefs of a group of people.  The intention of our governments was to allow for individual freedom and to not be involved in our every day lives.

Someone needs to tell this to the Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.

I do not understand the need of people to have to outlaw things they do not believe in.  There has been a huge debate over abortion for the last 40 years.  Now, there is an equal debate over gay marriage.  These are decisions that you and your church might condemn.  However, this does not mean that the government needs to be involved in them.

Why can’t these decisions be left to the individuals, their families and their church and beliefs.  If you do not believe in abortion, you will not have one.  This does not mean that there has to be a law against it.  If your church does not believe in gay marriage, or inter-faith marriage for that matter, then they do not have to allow them in their church.  Again, a law against it is unnecessary and will not change your beliefs.

I read that the Bishops are saying that allowing abortions infringes on the right of religious freedom of all Catholics.  I do not understand that statement at all.  They have the freedom not to believe in or practice abortion.  That is the essence of religious freedom!  By creating a law, based on your moral view, to outlaw abortion is the exact opposite of freedom.  What if that person is an atheist?  Why should your moral law affect that person?  Their freedoms are being infringed.

For the record, I do not believe in abortion, but my belief that government should just stay out of the issue is stronger.  Also, I don’t care if gays want to get married.  That should be their right.

We need to stop relying on the government to enforce moral or religious laws over the entire population.  A small majority passed Prop 8 here, and I don’t understand why that slight majority should impose their religious views on the rest of the population.  Leave these issues to the individuals and churches, and get government out of it.

What These Elections Taught Me

November 6, 2008

If there is one thing the elections taught me here in California, it’s that people expect a lot to be provided to them by the government, whether state or federal.

Just look at the propositions that were on the ballot and passed in the state.  Prop 1A was almost a billion dollars in high-speed railroad bonds.  It passed by a small margin.  Prop 3 passed and was to issue about a billion dollars of bonds to fund renovations to children’s hospitals.  These propositions say that these programs will not raise taxes.  However, issuing bonds puts the state in more debt.  How do you pay off that debt without cutting spending?  You have to generate more revenue, which means raising taxes.

If you think about it for a second, do you think the government is the best agent to spend almost $2 billion?  Do you think they will get the best value and the most return on the dollars they invest?  If you want a remodel on your house, do you give your money to a third party and then tell them to build what they see fit?  No.  You would shop around and get the most qualified person at the most reasonable cost.

If you ask people, almost everyone will say that government programs are filled with waste, inefficiency, and bureaucracy.  Why then, when it comes to elections, do we vote for these programs?  It’s like we all get brainwashed by fancy TV ads and propaganda.  They might be great ideas, but just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean the government should spearhead the effort.

If anything, the government should give incentives to private investors and developers to lead the efforts and perform the work.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for the hospital owners, which are for-profit, private companies, to perform the work themselves?  Maybe they can’t afford all of it, but the government could give incentives or tax breaks to help relieve some of the costs.

Instead, the government will spend money overseeing projects and allocating the money to whoever they want.  If the hospitals did the work themselves, at least we would know they would be targeting the facilities that needed the renovations the most.  Instead, politicians can give the money to a local hospital in order to gain votes.

The same goes for the high speed rail bonds.  Politicians will try to spend the money where it will best further their own agendas.  If private rail companies were formed, they would figure out the areas where the demand is the highest and where they can make money.

Why do we always fall into the trap of “government knows best?”  Most of the politicians aren’t experts in any of these fields.  Why do we think that since they are in government, they are instantly smarter?

Finally, the most controversial measure was Prop 8, which amended the Constitution to ban gay marriage.  I still do not understand why the government needs to be involved in this.  Not one supporter has told me yet.  They claim they are trying to protect kids and families, but those could be done with lesser laws that do not take away rights and liberties from individuals.

The government’s role is not to be influenced by the religious beliefs of a slight majority.  This is not a theocracy, and there is a separation of church and state for a reason.  Gay marriage should be between families and their churches, not between you and the government.  If you do not agree with it, that is fine.  If you want to change school rules to protect children, then do it.  But don’t put government in the position to take away civil rights of others to advance your own beliefs.  That could come back to bite you later when a different group is in the majority.

This country was founded on small government principles and somewhere along the way, the citizens began to believe that government knows how to fix any and every problem.  Instead of some ingenuity and hard work, we would rather vote to let the government deal with it.  Most people will agree on a limited government since it is part of our culture, but for some reason, on election day, all of these beliefs go out the window.  While all these propositions might have been great ideas, we need to realize that government is the wrong institution to implement them.

The one thing this election taught me was that this belief in government involvement is as strong as ever.  In fact, I don’t even think most people take a step back and see how involved the government has gotten.  They are so wrapped up in issues and their beliefs that they forget to ask themselves “is this really the role of government?”  After reading Ron Paul’s latest book and frequenting the Campaign for Liberty website, I almost feel “enlightened” and need to help spread the word of limited government and freedom and liberty for all.  I hope I’m helping.

The Voters Have Spoken – Prop 8 Passes – For Now

November 5, 2008

After one of the longest and most passionate proposition campaigns I can remember, the voters of California approved Prop 8 by a small majority.  The passage will Constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state.  The only other proposition I can remember with such a heated debate was Prop 187, which banned services for illegal immigrants.

I voted No on 8, but the electorate has spoken and the ban on gay marriage passed.  You might not always agree with the propositions, but at least it puts the issue and the debate out there.  It is much better than letting the courts decide the outcome, even though that will probably be the result of the passage of Prop 8.

Prop 8 will most likely fall to the same fate as Prop 187.  Before Prop 187 was passed, there was a court case that mandated that illegal immigrants be provided basic services like schooling and emergency services.  So, since Prop 187 directly contradicted the federal ruling, it was basically null and void.

The California Constitution has an “equal protection” clause that does not allow discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.  Prop 8 basically contradicts this part of the Constitution.  So what happens when a new amendment contradicts an existing part?  That’s where the lawyers and judges come in, and why I feel that even though Prop 8 passed, it will not be enforced.

That is the problem with these broadbrush, blanket propositions.  They cover such a huge scope that there is bound to be some sort of legal ramifications or problems enforcing them.

One of the main arguments for Prop 8 was that children would be taught about gay marriage in schools and that it was to protect our children.  If that was really the case, they should have made a proposition that controlled the teaching of gay marriage in schools.  This should have allowed parents to remove their children from class, require notification, and have more of a say in what is being taught.  It would also not have affected gay couples.

That would have passed with flying colors and without a lot of legal challenges.  It would be a fair proposition that pro-gay rights and anti-gay rights could agree on.  Rather than trying to limit civil rights of one group or the other, logical legislation should be discussed and worked out.  Focus on the smaller issues because those will have more room for compromise.

So, in the end, even though Prop 8 passed, it will be very hard to actually become part of our constitution.  All it really did was waste a lot of time and energy and create a lot of hate on both sides.

The Slippery Slope of Prop 8

October 30, 2008

I’ve already written one post in opposition to Prop 8, and I’ve seen so many conflicting ads the last few days that I’ve been inspired to write again.

Passing Prop 8 will set off a slippery slope, where people can use personal beliefs to strip the civil rights of other individuals.  If you do not believe in gay marriage that is fine and the decision is up to you.  However, you should not be able to disallow the rights of others.

Proponents of Prop 8 say Churches will get sued and lose their tax-exempt status if they do not marry gay couples.  If Prop 8 fails, they will be forced to marry gays in their chruch.

Currently, will a Catholic church lose its tax-exempt status if they refuse to marry non-Catholics?  No.  I know of couples where one is Jewish and one is Catholic and they had to search for a church that would marry them.  Neither their Catholic church or Temple would allow it.  Did their churches lose their tax-exempt status?  No.

Churches refuse to marry people all the time because of their beliefs.  Prop 8 will not change any of this!

Another argument is that schools will teach gay marriage as early as kindergarten.  First, I think it is really low to drag children into this debate.  If you are an adult and are against gay marriage, that is fine.  Why do you have to use kids as pawns in your religious debate?

Each school district has established rules on the subject of sex education.  I know in my class, certain kids left the room during the lessons.  Their parents did not want them to be a part of the discussion.  Why not have the parents sign a waiver if gay marriage is going to be taught?  If you do not want your children learning about gay marriage, have the teacher pull them out of class.  It’s not that hard.

Or, they could just refer the questions of gay marriage to parents.  They do not need to address the subject, but if it comes up, the teacher could tell the child to ask their parents about it.

What needs to happen is better communication between parents and teachers.  We do not need to strip civil rights of millions of people because you don’t want your kid to learn about gay marriage.

Everyone has different religious beliefs.  I’ve heard the Adam and Eve argument over and over again as well.  It wasn’t Adam and Steve for a reason, is what they say.  Again, this is your personal belief.  Government should include the religious beliefs of what could be 51% of the population.  What’s next?  Do we not recognize Muslim marriages because they aren’t in the Bible?  I know this is extreme, but if we use religion to govern us, this could happen.

I urge everyone to vote NO on Prop 8.  Not because of how you feel on gay marriage, but because of how you feel about freedom and equality for all.  You can still be against gay marriage and your church can still choose not to marry gays.  However, it is not the government’s place to get involved in this set of beliefs, no matter what.  Passing Prop 8 will create a slippery slope where people can use their beliefs to discriminate against any race, gender or religion.  So, please separate your religious beliefs from your civic duty and vote No on 8.

No On 8 – Yes on Civil Rights

October 21, 2008

If you live in California, you know what Prop 8 is all about.  If you do not know, Proposition 8 will amend the California Constitution to say that only marriage between a man and woman is legal and valid in California.

I don’t even have to know the arguments for or against Prop 8.  I don’t care who is marrying who.  What I care about is freedom, liberty and civil rights.  Just because someone is gay, does not mean they shouldn’t have the right to be married and enjoy the same rights as married couples.

The main argument for Prop 8 is that gay marriage will have to be taught to kindergarteners if you vote no on Prop 8.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Each school district can decide what curriculum can and will be taught.  Many school districts already just tell students who ask about gay marriage to talk to their parents.

As a Californian, I can not believe so many people would support blatant discrimination of a group of people.  It’s funny if you go to their website, they mention nothing of marriage having a religous background until you go the “Testimonials” page.  Then you see almost every argument has a theological backing.

My question, to all these religous leaders who support Prop 8:  What happens if a person doesn’t believe in the Bible?  What happens if a Muslim wants to marry a Christian?  Or a Catholic to a Jew?  If two people do not have the same beliefs, how can they get married?

This question should be left up to individuals, families, and their own church leaders.  If a priest or pastor wants to marry a gay couple, then let them marry.  If a priest does not, then that is his business.  The same thing happens every day when couples of different religious denominations get married.  Sometimes they have to seek out a priest and church that will marry them.

The last thing we need is the government intervening more and more in our every day lives.  If you do not agree with it, that is fine, but don’t take away someone else’s civil rights in the process.  Also, if you do not want your child learning about same sex marriage, just have them leave the class.  We had some other students leave the class when they taught sex ed to us.  Just let the teacher know before hand.

In this day and age, we need to be more tolerant of each other.  We need to protect our civil liberties and freedom and equality for all.

No on 8.  No on Government Intervention.  Yes on Freedom.  Yes on Civil Rights.