What an interesting week it’s been…

Not really, but it has been really busy. I don’t think it will get much better, but we shall see. But enough about my work week, I have some verbal vomit that I’ve been saving up all week. These thoughts are not in any particular order.

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of striking a 1998 law banning same sex marriage. Definitely not what I expected, given the track record of the American public recently. I’ll talk more about this later.

I went to graduate school in the Washington, DC area and am currently looking for a permanent job back in that area. As such, I regularly read the Washington Post. They’ve recently started a new blog: God in Government. [Note: In general, I will not capitalize the word god as I do not believe that a superstition should be offered more respect for any group (e.g. christians) compared to another (e.g. hindus).] The very thought of any supernatural being playing a role in government is NOT my idea of a good thing.  The authors, Jacqueline L. Salmon and Michelle Boorstein, intend to “specialize in the latest news on god in Government.”  I’m sure this will provide plenty of fodder for me over the next eons!

Here’s a first dose from these ladies: They relate the situation of HHS Secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius and the threats aimed at her by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.  Sebelius is apparently VERY unpopular with the hateful man in the dress as she supports abortion rights. It seems he has spoken to her at length about the necessity of voting the catholic way and has informed her privately and publically  that she is not welcome to partake of the ritualistic cannibalism so popular with these delusional wackjobs. So let me get this right: this jack ass and his church with a 2K year history of killing people in the name of their god want to push this woman around because she believes people have a right to believe differently than she does. Three cheers to Sebelius! and a VERY loud STFU to Naumann. Keep your nonexistent god out of my government.

One of the things that I feel very strongly about is separation of church and state. Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion in the First Amendment.  It also erects a wall between church and state in the same amendment. Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to the Danbury Babtists, has been used to support this idea throughout a variety of Supreme Court of the United States precedents. I’m not quite sure how, but it seems the American public has lost sight of this ideal and has forgotten this very important lesson. For example, another of the god in Government posts concerns the banning of books in prison that “could incite, promote or otherwise suggest the commission of violence or criminal activity.”  I like to think of myself as a “reasonable person” when musing about constitutional law and will spout my untrained thoughts regarding such things as I choose to address.

Banning books in prison is an incredibly complicated situation, but here are my thoughts. Free speech reigns supreme: I think book burning is unconstitutional on its face. The government does NOT have any business telling the citizens what they may or may not read! Freedom of religion: Yeah, I don’t believe in gods or other supernatural things but if the average idiot wants to…I DO support their right to do so.  Freedom from religion: The government has NO business choosing religious books that are allowed based on their ability to incite violence or other criminal behavior. All these things being said and true in my mind, I have a solution: no books! Prisoners are in prison for a reason. They have done something contrary to the social contract by which we all must abide to continue in society. [Yes, I know…not very liberal of me but you’ll find that I don’t always abide by the “liberal ideology.”]

Back to Iowa and their decision to allow gay marriage. My own personal argument is something like this: Freedom of association: I can love who ever I want to.  Equal protection: If straight people can have their relationships recognized, I should have mine recognized also. Freedom from religion: The wingnuts shouldn’t be able to force their religious beliefs on us through government regulations.

This is where the Iowa decision is so unusual:  the court chose to address “the reason for the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from civil marriage left unspoken by the county: religious opposition to same-sex marriage.” WOW! I don’t think I’ve ever read any court decision that has the court addressing an issue that wasn’t presented by either plaintiff or defendant, much less an appeals court or supreme court doing so.

I am, however, quite pleased that ISC chose to do so not once,  but twice. First, the court finds that “civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or religious views of individuals.” The court further finds that “a new distinction based on sexual orientation woudl be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection….”  So, not only did this court maintain the wall between church and state of it’s own accord, but it reinforced the equality of a historically persecuted group by preempting a “separate but equal” civil union solution.

Hear, hear Iowa!! May you live up to your perceived role as a leader of civil rights action.

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~ by evangelatheist on April 4, 2009.

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