Tag Archives: morality

Slip-Slidin’ Away…

Ladies and gentlemen…recognizing the legitimacy of homosexual and bisexual relations, along with recognition of same-gender marriage, will not lead to some collapse of civilization. Trust me. Given the fact that some of you may think homosexuality has never been a publicly endorsed concept, maybe you need to do a little more research into some ancient Greek folks who had some feared and effective military forces in which getting it on with your shield-mate was perfectly fine.

So, why is the whole same-sex sex thing on my mind again?

Recently, I started following a Twitter account called RP_Newsletter. It’s a great account that spends most of its time showing how crazy, deluded, homophobic and racist Ron Paul is by printing excerpts from the various newsletters he now claims he had nothing to do with (despite having publicly associated himself with them in the past). The account gets a bit repetitive at times, but it’s nice to be made aware of just how out-of-touch and dangerous many of Ron Paul’s views have been (and chances are he still holds most or all of those views). For example, Ron Paul seems to have a notion that the rise of HIV/AIDS is directly linked to rising acceptance of homosexuality in society, which pretty much proves he must have been a shitty physician, since any doctor worth his salt knows that sexually transmitted diseases don’t give a shit as they evolve into nastier forms whether you’re banging a fellow dude on the sly or openly.

Also, we have Rick Santorum in the race to be the GOP presidential candidate against Ron Paul and others, and I love how that jackass seems to think that legal recognition and acceptance of same-sex stuff will lead to legal incest, bestiality, pedophilia and adultery.

That last one really tickles my funny bone, given the fact it’s not really illegal to commit adultery NOW, and it’s far more widely practiced than same-sex relations. In fact, it’s one of the most popular sexual activities among Democratic AND Republican politicians alike.

But what this all has me in mind of is that strange notion that if we acknowledge that some people are gay (or bi) and that they have a right to make that choice as grown folks and be proud of who they are, that there is some slippery slope awaiting that we will all fall down, with civilization as we know it dragged down in tatters behind us.

Such a notion shows that believers of such things don’t have much in the way of critical-thinking skills. Of course, it’s also become clear to me that given how insanely obstinate, cruel, obstructionist, classist, evil, greedy and mean-tempered so many conservatives are these days, most who support them obviously don’t know what critical thinking IS (especially if they are working-class or poor folks supporting the GOP).

First off, there is no slippery slope connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. Despite all the high-profile stories of priests and altar boys, the fact is that pedophilia isn’t about same-sex relations. It’s about sick fucks who abuse children, and a lot more heterosexual sick fucks out there do it than homosexual sick fucks. You see, homosexuality is way different; it’s overwhelmingly about people making decisions to have sex with other age-appropriate folks who happen to have the same sexual apparatus. Point is that homosexual relations are overwhelmingly consensual. Pedophilia is overwhelmingly abusive and non-consensual. There is no comparison.

Same thing with bestiality. Animals can’t give consent. Aside from the fact that equating sexual relations between two people with sex between a person and an animal is just plain damn rude, ignorant and insensitive, there just isn’t a comparison. Sexual relations with an animal is forcing YOUR desires onto the animal, which inherently has less power than you do with your bigger brain and opposable thumbs. Sure, there are a few dogs here or some other animal now and again that might take the initiative to mount a human, but generally speaking, they don’t want to go there. But again, recognition of same-sex relations, which are consensual, does not compare to bestiality at all.

And incest…well…OK, there is a potential progression there. I admit it. At least if we’re taking consensual incest. If you’re talking about Uncle Joey making inappropriate moves in his young niece or nephew, that’s pedophilia primarily, and the incest portion is just secondary crap that make the whole situation sicker. But there are folks of consensual age who are attracted to close relatives and don’t see anything wrong with having sex with them. For me, this is a taboo area. I think it’s an inappropriate line to cross. But at the same time, who the hell am I to tell, for example, two adult siblings whom they can or cannot have sex with? Why should there be any issues of legality involved here? Why should we be able to criminalize the act of ANY two adults in full control of their faculties that involves sex? Logically, there is no reason, because it’s between those two people and no one else.

Sure, I see value in criminalizing adult choices that put others at risk or cause them undesired harm (such as driving under the influence or choosing to rape someone), but the only risk of incest aside from the “ick factor” most of us feel about it is a slightly increased risk of genetic problems in any children. But Lord knows, plenty of people who aren’t blood relations can legally have kids when they have high risks of passing along bad stuff to their kids. In the end, though, the vast majority of people don’t want to have sex with their close relatives, except maybe first cousins in some situations, which is actually legal in a lot of places. But folks generally don’t want to have sex with siblings, parents or grown children. They just don’t. It’s such a small group compared to homosexual folks, which are already a subset of the sexually active adult population, that I don’t see a big rush for people to cry out, “We want incestual marriage legalized.” Sure, it COULD happen, but I just don’t see a big fanbase for that rising up in protest.

My dear conservatives, your slippery-slope theory is slick, but ultimately sloppy.

Why don’t you just drop the same-sex slippery slope theory and move on. You were wrong (and often still are) in terms of your racial views, and the same goes for your same-sex paranoia. Many of you crowing the loudest probably have some same-sex baggage in your closet anyway, so just shut up already.

Abstinence Only Education: The Ultimate Act of Futility

Every time a conservative person, particularly of the religious persuasion, goes off on how important “abstinence-only” education is, an angel loses his dick.

Hey, the Bible says angels had sex with women at times, so they must have some junk under those white robes. And in this season when the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” tends to get a lot of play (every time a bell rings, a new angel gets its wings)…well, it seems an apropos image.

But back to the topic. Why the hell does this notion of teaching abstinence get so much play? Have all the members of the GOP conveniently forgotten that almost all of them had sex in their teens…before being married? Did they forget that many of their parents had them in their teens and got married primarily because those future Republican politicians and pundits were growing in a young womb?

I’m not saying we should be teaching the Kama Sutra in classrooms and letting teens watch pornos in school, but damn it, they need education about the risks of sex and how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Even loudmouthed fucking Sarah Palin’s teen kid got pregnant while unmarried in the midst of Mrs.-Holier-Than-Thou-Rewrites-History-and-Can-See-Russia-from-Her-Backyard’s efforts to try to drum up a presidential campaign.

Considering how much sexually transmitted disease is out there, and how many STDs are becoming resistant (or already long since have done so) to most available treatments, it is downright criminal to be trying to keep teens from getting access both to knowledge and condoms.

Because you know what? Teens are going to have sex. If they can get a person who’s willing to have sex, they will have sex. I know that I would have, if only the nerdy girls weren’t turning me down for dates just as much as the more popular ones were.

Teens have been having sex before marriage forever. For. Fucking. Ever.

I want conservatives to point me to this magic period in history when teens didn’t have sex before tying the knot. And don’t go back to the 1940s and 1950s and tell me how pure kids were then and how they obeyed their parents and were stalwart bastions of virtue. They got married in high school or right after often because the girl was knocked up.

So, conservatives, let me give you a math equation: Rampaging hormones + penis + vagina = teen sex.

No amount of pushing abstinence-only education will change that. Shepherds back in biblical times were telling their kids to keep in in their robes, too, and they didn’t listen then. They didn’t keep them in their slacks and poodle skirts in the 1950s, either.

So, shut the fuck up already, accept reality and let’s shoot for healthier and safer activities. Education and condoms aren’t going to increase teen sex.

But they might decrease the amount of disease and early pregnancies out there.

I’ll Take the Sniper over the Carpet Bombing, Thanks

Anwar al-Awlaki is dead.


But more on that in a moment.

First, let me apologize for being several days late to the party commenting on this story; I’ve been pretty busy

Second, let’s be clear. Yes, I lean fairly far to the left. I’m liberal, even if I also do have moderate tendencies. I’ve been called a secular progressive (which is funny since, believing in God and Jesus pretty firmly like I do, I’d be a Christian progressive). But I have my conservative moments, and this is one of them. Cry all you want about assassinating a U.S. citizen, but I have zero problem with this guy being killed.

Which brings me back to my original point: Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Now, I’ve seen some of my fellow liberal-leaning folks all in a fuss about how bad it is to set a precedent like this and kill a U.S. citizen without due process. First off, I’d rather spend time worrying about the probably thousands of people doing time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit (and possibly facing potential execution) because prosecutors and police lied or got lazy or because the person couldn’t get a decent defense. Or unarmed people who get tasered to death or shot dozens of times by police for no good reason. Screw one lone damned terrorist leader who made no bones about his intentions in the face of all that.

Because you know what, Anwar al-Awlaki was quite open about his hatred of the United States and his desire to kill. He didn’t just make vague comments about chickens coming home to roost like Malcolm X, who was actually more about justice and fairness and justifiable self-defense than people give him credit for. Anwar al-Awlaki wanted Americans dead and wanted to strike blows against the United States to, ideally, take it down. He was a terrorist.

Oh, yeah, and a U.S. citizen. Now, if I’m wrong, feel free to correct me, but the man left the U.S. in 2002 and became increasingly vocal about how you can’t trust non-Muslims and should rely on the bullet. He was preaching very publicly to others to encourage them to do violence to the United States and other non-Muslim nations. I’m sorry, but if that isn’t a tacit rejection of your citizenship, I don’t know what is. I’d feel the same about any white, right-wing terrorist who decided to drop out of mainstream American life to plot secret and violent attacks against people in this country. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if some extra-angry “if ballots don’t work, bullets will” Tea Party types enter this category soon. I won’t cry if they get shot in a raid on their compound.

To be honest, al-Awlaki was the very definition of an “enemy combatant.” If you say you want to do some killing and plan to do some killing and plan to get other people to do some killing, you have declared war. If we get a chance to shoot you down, we should take it.

This, to me, is more honest, clean and just. I’d rather see a drone fire a missile at a vehicle containing this guy and a few terrorist friends than to see a bombing of some compound he lives in, where plenty of innocents, including children potentially, might be. I’d rather see an assassination like this than dragging our poor troops halfway across the world to wage war and cause all sorts of collateral damage that maims and kills tens of thousands of innocent folks.

So, whether a drone like in this case, or a sniper in some other case (past or future), I’ll take the targeted assassination of the leaders over the wholesale slaughter of the foot soldiers. Without people to plan organized assaults, you rarely have foot soldiers to deal with.

Frankly, the notion that we should have just dragged him back to the United States for a trial is ludicrous. Aside from the fact that would be a riskier operation to our own forces and to others, it just isn’t necessary. This isn’t a situation in which guilt is even in question. Anwar al-Awlaki was proud of his actions and happy to kill indiscriminately. I’d rather we kill selectively than engage in mass operations that sow untold destruction over years. (Are there downsides to assassination, and can it help foment hatred toward us? Sure. But far less so than occupying and razing great swaths of a nation.)

Do I trust my government to always do the right thing when it comes to assassination? No. But that’s nothing new. I’m tired of war, though, and tired of using a shotgun or a carpet bombing where a sniper or a missile-equipped drone can do the job much more cleanly.

G. vs. E.

I’ve often heard people talk about how, even if there is a God, “I’m not a bad person.”

The notion is that even if they don’t think about God, or so much as consider Jesus, they couldn’t possibly be “bad” enough to be denied salvation.

Now those arguments can go back and forth forever in terms of God’s fairness. But that isn’t my point today. My point today is to address our rather faulty concepts of good and evil.

You see, lots of people think that they’re pretty good. I maintain that people, as a whole (and this includes myself) aren’t really good at all. Oh, I may be fairly nice, and pleasant to be around, but I’m not good.

The problem is, people think that because they aren’t evil, or even just vaguely bad, then they must be good. I see this all the time. It’s kind of like how almost everyone (myself included) thinks they are smart, or at least above average in intelligence.

But not being evil doesn’t make you good.

Just like not being a villain doesn’t make you a hero.

To be honest, most people are somewhere in the middle, and by and large, we tend toward badness. Not overt cruelty usually, but plenty of little things. Not smiling at someone. Moving past a person asking for money. Not listening well enough to someone in distress. Not honoring our loved ones enough. Being too fixated on our own wants and needs.

No, people aren’t good overall, and that’s regardless of religious beliefs.

But having said that, it’s a good exercise for me to look at my actions in light of God’s expectations and Jesus’ teachings. When I look at my actions by worldly standards, I’ll go pretty easy on myself and pat myself on my own back quite readily. When I apply a spiritual filter to that assessment, though, I come up short, and I realize that while I’m not heinous, I have a long, long way to go before I should be using the label “good.”

In fact, I doubt I’ll ever get to that point.

And chances are you won’t either.

Your Cheating Heart

Lord, we do love us some drama around a politician boning someone other than his wife, don’t we?

John Edwards became the latest perpetrator-slash-victim in this wonderful cycle, and folks are spouting off all over the place about how terrible it is what he did to his wife, Elizabeth and how it shows his complete lack of moral character and damn aren’t we lucky he didn’t get the Democratic nod because either (a) he’d lose to McCain for the infidelity [if of course we were to ignore that McCain left his disabled wife for a younger, and rich, woman] or (b) we’d have a philanderer in the Oval Office!

Oh, my God! A politician who sleeps around. Stop the presses!

There have been saner heads in the world of commentating and blogging that have pointed out the fact that fidelity is hardly a necessity for being a good politician and that holding politicians to a higher moral standard than other professions doesn’t make much sense. But there still a lot of venom being sloshed into Edwards’ face, from men and women alike. In in my humble opinion, though, we’ve given the country over to greedy, selfish, heartless folks for eight years. Is fucking someone other than your wife really so much worse than fucking people over?

Look, before I go any farther, let me be clear that I don’t support adultery. I have never desired to cheat on my wife and I hope I never do. And I didn’t like what John Edwards did in terms of cheating; it is disappointing. But there are a few reasons I realized that I don’t have a right to get all judgmental and self-righteous about what he did.

First off, unlike Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer and some other notable randy politicians in recent years, there is no indication that what Edwards did was some habitual thing. So far, it looks more like an isolated event.

Second of all, Elizabeth isn’t throwing her husband to the wolves but keeping his back, and it’s not my place to be outraged on her behalf if she’s coming to grips with it. Hell, Mrs. Blue and a former social worker she knows (also female) were discussing that with the breast cancer troubles Elizabeth Edwards has been going through, she may not want to have sex and may feel like less than a woman; apparently, this is not uncommon among those fighting breast cancer. They’ve gone so far as to theorize that she may have encouraged her husband to get his business taken care of by someone else. These are woman talking, not me. Such a thing wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as a theory. But it is entirely plausible. We just don’t know.

Finally, though, I am reminded of what Jesus said when the mob dragged before him a woman they had caught in the act of adultery and saying she be stoned to death according to Jewish law and asking what Jesus thought, to try to trip him up and show that he didn’t care about the law. Instead, he said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (This is all in John 8:3-11, by the way)

Most of us are familiar with that line and that story, and how it tells us that none of us are without stain or sin and none but God can truly judge and condemn anyone fairly and honestly.

But there is another element to it as well. Recall that the mob didn’t bring the man who had been committing adultery with this woman. They let him go free. Also, in the story, you might recall that before Jesus uttered his famous line, he was drawing in the sand with a stick. My father-in-law, in more than one sermon, has theorized that he was drawing words, perhaps something like, “So, where the heck is the man?” Because to my father-in-law, that is probably the only thing that would have truly made everyone disperse; throwing it in their faces that they only wanted to punish half of the adulterous couple.

True, there is a gender reversal when we look at the Bible story, where the woman gets dragged out, and with John Edwards, where the man is the one who gets the spotlight. But I think there is a parallel in that we always want to point fingers, usually at just one of the people, and then declare that a single act or a certain mistake can permanently make someone unworthy or somehow erases all the good they’ve done in the past. And for some reason, we chose adultery as some special way to do this, as if it’s so much worse than lying or greediness or pettiness or lack of general human compassion, things we have overlooked in politicians on both sides of the aisle on a regular basis.

None of us is without sin. All of us can commit the same mistake of adultery (or murder or theft or whatever) as quickly as anyone in the public that we want to vilify. All that is needed are the right circumstances.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t pay a price for deliberate harm they commit or stupid mistakes they make. I’m not even saying we don’t have a right to wonder about them when we do.

But we don’t have a right to judge a person’s entire worth based on a few unflattering snapshots from their life.