Category Archives: Politics

Congress targeting Muslims instead of Terrorism

Last week, I was reading the news on Google and stumbled upon information that our Congress is arguing to target Muslim organizations and monitor them. That is just any old Muslim organizations, not just the ones known for terrorism, nor are any other religious organizations targeted. Frankly this makes me angry.

One is that most, that is the vast majority, of Muslims from around the world are very peaceful people. They have great relationships with their neighbors, and live in communities that are primarily made up of other religions. Only a small few are making a fuss about the “infidel” and declaring jihad on the unbelievers. And when it comes to jihad, the word does not mean violence or war, which is how the media has portrayed it, but rather struggle. When it comes to struggle, many theologists, Muslim or not, agree that the struggle we all face within is much more difficult than struggling with your enemies. That being said, most Muslims are facing the struggle within and are not making enemies to struggle against.

To take it further, Peter King (Rep- New York) is stirring up Congress and Homeland Security against Muslim organizations and stating that these organizations need to be watched. Well that seems like an unconstitutional move, since we are supposed to be guaranteed freedom of religion. And when it comes to violence within the US, we are more in danger from our own government (Waco anyone?) or Christian organizations (Hutaree?) than we are from Islamic extremists over seas.

What is even harder to understand is why Muslims around the world are not outraged by this discriminatory behavior. Instead of being outraged that Americans are not taking the time to understand them, their beliefs or their culture, they are apologizing and allowing our miliarty to invade their countries and search for a handful of men (one over 6 foot tall and in need of consistant medical treatment) that for some reason cannot be found.

Seriously, our legislative leaders, both in the US congress and in the state goverment need to take a look at our founding principles and statements. We need to remember why so many men and women gave their lives for the past 235 years. They gave their lives for freedom, independence, and the Constitution. So, why are our leaders so hell bent on shreading it?

A Chink in DOMA’s Armor?

The argument for keeping same sex marriage illegal in many states, including Wisconsin (although we have more problems with Walker in charge than just this) is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Last week we may have seen the first chink against DOMA and defending it on a legal status. President Obama announced that he was telling the US Attorney not to defend the US DOMA and declared it “indefensible” and even parts“unconstitutional.”

Granted how Obama is declaring DOMA against the law is not really a legal standing but one of political opinion, but the fact that the president is stating that same sex marriages should be considered a legal joining is a good thing. It is one more little victory for gay marriage which is one more step for real equality in the US.

Republicans are still trying to defend DOMA in court and are still screaming that this is the way marriage was intented, but this is 2011 not 1776 and our views have changed since then. Even if we look to more modern history, such as the innocent 1950s, we find the our views of marriage, relationships and sexuality have changed. The recognition of such change across America and the fact that there are 13 states where a civil union is recognized, including our nation’s capitol. Two of those states are our neighbors: Iowa and Illinios.

But here, in Wisconsin, we are still a DOMA state with only limited rights for gay relationships and no recognition of marriage. That will hopefully soon be changing with Obama standing up and saying that the federal version of DOMA is unconstitutional, which in turn should invalidate the one here as well.

Personally, I like Lorraine Devon Wilke’s words: I have been married for two decades and my marriage does not neeed defending. Thank you Mrs. Wilke! I have not been married as long as you, but my marriage does not need defending either. And to take that thought one more step, I fail to see what anyone else’s marriage has to do with mine, include gay marriage. No one else can change what my marraige is.

Prayer in Public Schools?

How we missed this one, I can’t tell you, but back in October, the US Court of Appeals over turned the decision to ban the Illinois “Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act.”  Just the name of this act seems to put the focus on religion in public schools, which is a no-no in our book…to a point. The unbiased study of religion in a world religion class or in conjunction with events in history is an acceptable method to have religion in schools. It is important to understand the world around you and how we got to this point in our lives.

That exception understood, suggesting to public school students that a moment of silence be used for prayer is unacceptable, as is calling it a Prayer Act. I do believe that it is acceptable to have a moment of silence and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. I know that I had to as a kid and while that moment of silence was never used for prayer, it was a nice start to the day. It gave me that extra moment or two to shift gears from getting ready for the day to actually facing it. At no time were we asked, was it suggested, or did any one mention that prayer could be said during that short time.

The father that originally filed the suit against Illinois is planning on taking this to the Supreme Court. I am not sure how this father feels, but in his shoes I would be fine with the moment of silence if it was called a such. I feel that there is nothing wrong with reflecting on the upcoming day, putting what happened up to that moment behind us, and plain regrouping. And if you happen to use that time for prayer, that is fine too, but do not ask anyone else to join you or suggest it to another public school student.

Election 2010….I can’t wait for November 2nd to be OVER!

To start with, I am not going to tell you who to vote for, I am not promoting one candidate over another; this isn’t that type of blog or that kind of space. And to be honest, I am not sure where you are from, but we are in central Wisconsin and the election here has gotten dirty and nasty and frankly I am sick and tired of it.

I am usually a rabid voter, and I have an opinion on everything, which should be no surprise to any of you out there, but this election I am just confused and disappointed in all the candidates available. There used to be a time when (and it wasn’t that long ago) a candidate put out there what they stood for, what they wanted to accomplish in office and how they planned on doing it. All sides would put out letters, commercials, and what not to show this (in addition to the normal mud slinging). From there you could decide if the candidate deserved your support or not. Not this year.

Frankly, here we are the day before we vote and I have no clue who I am voting for. That has never happened, with the exception of my first election when I was 18 and indecisive. I have no idea who stands for what, other than they are not in support of the other person on the ticket. I already know that you are against the other person and their party and what they stand for, but what is that? What is it that you stand for? Anything is better than what is out there now.

Like the race for governor….the Republican candidate says that the Democrat did such and so, and therefore we should vote Republican and the Dems say the opposite. The Green Party says they have a candidate but I have no clue about them either…

And that is like that for every race. What are these parties trying to do to us. Turn the general public away from voting? It is bad enough that most people are apathetic at best about their right to vote. We don’t need to turn people off to voting but to get them more involved. But with these campaigns, we are not going to do it.

Normally, I would tell you to look at the candidates and the issues and decide from there who really stands for your best interests, but at this point, I can’t figure out who stands for anything.

Maybe I should just write myself in for every position. It isn’t like I would seriously win or even come close…

Anyone out there running a write in campaign that is understandable and not just “against” someone else? If you are please let me know and you will have my vote, because at least you stand for something, at this point anything.

Let’s get political…for just a moment

Lately I have dreaded opening my email, which is generally a source of fun and enjoyment for me. I love emailing my friends, family, and all the people that have come to HM to either participate with our discussion group or come to us to be married their way. It is just nice to be able to stay in touch so quickly and easily. But as the November 2010 elections draw near, I hate finding my inbox littered with intolerance, elitism, and entitlement.

I am sure that many of you, if not all of you, have received these emails that say:
Boarders, closed
Language, English
Culture, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Bible.
“We the people are coming” along with change (or other similar lines) and then moves on to trigger our National pride with the Pledge of Allegiance and the motto on our money (hint: In God We Trust).

I am sorry but this email is not in the American spirit, at least not the America I grew up in, not the America I learned about in history class, and not the America I want to live in either.

Borders closed? Which borders? Canada? Mexico? Maybe Florida since their population is made up of a significant portion of Cuban born people. What about being the country that will shelter the oppressed from political and religious persecution? When did we become so selfish?

Language English? Yes a majority of us speak English and only English, and yes I agree it is annoying to push 1 or any other number for an English speaking representative. Our forefathers didn’t have an official language because locally, each community spoke the language of those who settled there. German communities spoke German, Polish spoke Polish, Spanish spoke Spanish, and French…you get the point. English was a common language that most spoke because of the English military presence around the world. Additionally, choosing an official language will discriminate against those who do not speak it, and I bet that most of us can find an immigrant or two in our past who didn’t speak a lick of English and were welcomed here with open arms.

And, there is the little fact that most of our customer service and tech support is overseas, where they deal with almost all spoken languages, so pushing one for English and two for other is just how they route it. For those who are still based in America, our fastest growing demographic is our Hispanic population and from a business perspective, it makes more sense to cater to those who speak Spanish rather than ignore them (fast forward to being creative and ingenious).

And the Bible? Again, no religious text ever came directly from heaven, Deity, or any place else but through a human hand.Therefore it is imperfect and not to be used as a political guide. Not that our politicians are doing any better, but America was founded on religious freedom, and that means if we are to use the Bible to base secular law on, we should use the Koran, the Vedas, and every other scripture out there to be fair. I think I will stick to the principles of separation of church and state (and yes, I know it is not in the Constitution, but many of our laws are based upon the theory).

About the only thing I can agree with is that We the People are coming, and we do vote. But we should not rely on politicians to solve our economy and other problems; our ancestors didn’t. We have to relearn to rely upon ourselves to fix our problems. Learn how to create money ourselves, and forget the promises of those in office. They made this mess to begin with, they haven’t figured out how to fix it, so we have to through the original American spirit: Hard Work, Creativity and Ingenuity,  Dedication to Family, Supporting, Loving, and Helping our Neighbors. That is the America that will build a future for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

And stop sending me those irritating emails. I just end up sending cranky responses to them. Thank you.

What’s the fuss over Proposition 8?

The California courts have overturned Proposition 8, which banned gay and lesbian couples from marrying legally. I can only say that I’m glad somebody saw sense in what has become a fanatically charged issue. Of course this isn’t the end of it, naturally. We are looking at years of legal challenges in the courts of Appeals and then in the Supreme Court before this issue can be laid to rest one way or the other.

Every single challenge to same-sex marriage is based on religious traditions, not legal precedent. Whether it is Mormon, Baptist, Muslim, Lutheran, Catholic or any other denomination, all their objections are based on their spiritual viewpoint and history. Most of the arguments against same-sex marriage that I have been reading tend to quote the Old Testament of the Bible and some are quite extreme (I won’t say which denomination it was, but they were quite vindictive.) in their reactions.

This is not a religious issue, it is a civil rights issue, and from that perspective I can see absolutely no reason to deny any couple the exact same rights and protections held by any more traditional couple. Frankly, the same-sex couples I know have been together longer than the heterosexual couples I know. They are just as loving, as supportive of their partners as any male-female bonding, and in some cases more so. Perhaps because they don’t have to deal with the problems of male-to-female translation the rest of us have to work through.

This is not to say that same-sex marriages are better, that would be ridiculous. There are the same issues of bickering, finance and the same rates of abuse or control that hetero couples go through. (On that note let me stress that if you are in an abusive relationship with ANYONE, get out of it as fast as you can. There are people that will help you. No one deserves to be abused in any way shape or form.)

How can allowing same-sex marriage hurt anyone else? It cannot harm a marriage within a traditional Church organization, since ninety per cent of established churches do not recognize homosexuals and lesbians as members. Therefore these marriages would be outside their purview and not subject to their rules in the first place. If a Church doesn’t allow same-sex marriages, that is their right within their own organization; it does not allow them to force that view on any one outside their organization. The Bible is not a legal text, nor does it form part of the Constitution.

It can’t conceivably harm insurance companies, since if these individuals were in a heterosexual relationship, they would be still providing insurance for two people instead of just one, regardless of the gender of the beneficiary. And the couple in question would still be paying their premiums like everyone else. Same policy, same costs, same benefits, where’s the problem?

Hospitals and medical providers still would have to allow decisions to be made by the patient’s spouse. Let me say right now that it is not the place of an institution to decide who the patient allows to make decisions in their care in case of incapacity or illness; that right is solely up to the patient.

Socially, allowing same-sex marriages would take away an area of instability by granting protection to a group that has been at risk of persecution for centuries.  Things would change, certainly, but for the most part it wouldn’t affect most of the rest of the population.

Sexual issues and religion have been a sore spot for many, many years and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. I have always felt very strongly that sex is one topic where a church establishment has no authority. What happens in my bedroom is between me and my lover, and no one else has any right to say anything about it. What happens in your bedroom is none of my business.  Enough said.

The entire issue, to my way of thinking can be summed up as follows:

If you don’t approve of gay marriage, don’t be in one.

 If you do approve, lend a hand with the legal fight for those who respect marriage so much that they are willing to fight for it.

Find your peace, friends.

Rev. Zita.