Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Ongoing Debate on Gay Marriage

With the recent passing of Prop. 8 in California, banning gay marriage, there has been quite a bit of discussion in the media about whether or not gays should have the right to marry. The most staunch opponents to gay marriage seems to come from strict Christian conservatives and Bible fundamentalists. While I personally do have a deep rooted faith in the Catholic-Christian tradition, as well as being a staunch traditionalist in the Liturgical sense, I do differ greatly from my heterosexual counterparts on the topic of gay marriage.

We often hear the rhetoric that we need to preserve the "sanctity" of marriage as seen in Scripture, as well as what has been handed down to us through the generations. Namely, that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, developed from a deep seated love for one another. I'm very much in favor of marriage being about a committed and monogamous love, but the rest seems to be a bit fuzzy, especially from a historical perspective.

First, let's deal briefly with Scripture. While I make no claims to be a great Bible historian or a theologian, I can read. The only passage that I want to deal with in this entry will be from the book of Leviticus, which seems to be the most quoted. Opponents to gay marriage use this Old Testament book to show God's disapproval of same sex relations. Man shall not lie with man as he would a woman. It would be an abomination. Ok, pretty simple enough. If we interpret this literally, and believe that social and historical context of the time in which this was written (WELL before the birth of Christ -- when Moses and Aaron were taking the Israelites out of Egypt) make no difference, AND we impose those cultural norms and standards on the 21st century, then yes.. I agree... gay relationships are an abomination.

Let's however look at what else the book of Leviticus has to offer us. In this book (feel free to look it up.. I suggest reading the ENTIRE book, it's rather interesting), men are forbidden from "rounding the edges of their beards", or trimming them in the modern sense. So all of us who have goatees, we are committing a big "no no". Scarring of the body by any means, namly tattoos is strictly forbidden in this verse. Oddly enough, I know some Evangelical ministers with tattoos. Even though tattoos are no longer seen as marking ones self as belonging to a particular cult religion as it was in Old Testament times, since we are taking everything literally, these people have condemned themselves. I feel bad for the tattoo artists... God must not like them much at all. Lastly, for the brides and wives out there, if you were not a virgin on your wedding night, expect to be stoned to death. It's the law.

I find it ironic that fundamentalists use Leviticus to push their anti-gay agenda, and yet ignore the well-spring of other do's and don'ts that society has seemed to move past as our understanding of human nature and the world around us has evolved to a greater comprehenshion over time.

Now, as to the sanctity of marriage, and its traditional role model, I suggest we go back to the Medieval and Renaissance time period. After all, the 20th century was not a good time for marriages as divorces became more common, and even accepted by many Christian Churches, even though they are strictly prohibited by the Bible. In the late Medieval and Renaissance period, a woman was either married off or sent to a convent by the age of 12. Her husband would have been at least 30 years old, since they felt it took a male that long to mature. Women had no choice in whom they married, and love had nothing to do with it. It was a business contract between two families, usually to make a profit or merge power. In fact, most marriages were not even performed in a Church until much later.

Based on this model, I'd say our exemplar of heterosexual marriage resembles nothing of what we think of acceptable marriage today. Really, how many brides and grooms do you know are 12 and 30? How many are even virgins? Say what you will about the lack of morals in our day and age... Churches still marry these people and bless their unions. Tisk Tisk.

Since we obviously do not take EVERYTHING in the Bible literally (otherwise I know a few wives who need to be stoned to death, as well as a few tattoo wearing men), and have learned a wealth of information about human nature, sociology and psychology since the hundreds of years B.C., I think it's time to apply this updated thinking to EVERYONE, not just the heterosexual majority. For those out there who will forever believe that homosexuality is a choice, not a born condition, and will forever chastise those who want to publicly and legally solidify their union, I leave you with this popular slogan: "If you don't want gay marriage, then don't get one!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Defenders (2009)

I agree.. let's save the "traditional" definition of what marriage means. But how far back do we go???

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alive and Kickin'

OH yes, I am still alive and out here. Subbing has kept me busy, and while it does take its toll on me, I can't help but be thankful for the extra income... especially in this economy.

Subbing has been an interesting experience to say the least. There are days I love working with the kids I'm with, and feel great about the career I have chosen, and then there are other days I want to run away screaming, and never look back. I will say, it has been great practice in classroom management, allowing me to see what works and what doesn't, as well as learning how to adjust my approach and personality to best suit the classroom environment I'm in. It is definitely not something I want to do forever, but it has been and continues to be a learning experience.

The job search has not turned up much in terms of finding a perminent position here in the WNY area. We are flooded with new teachers, and lacking in retirees. Even when the occasional teacher does retire, they may not be replaced due to budget cuts statewide.

I have seen a glimmer of hope however.... a teacher's assistant here in the district I sub in has told me about an online teacher recruitment site for New York State (excluding WNY which already uses a similar program). There were some jobs posted for areas like Syracuse and Albany, leading me to believe that while I may have to leave WNY, I may still be able to stay in the state, making the commute home for holidays much easier than if I were states away. One never knows what the future will hold... and I do have another year of grad school to complete before it is time to start applying out of the area. Any hope however is a welcomed change.

Yesterday was Collin's Christening, which was done in the Lutheran Church where Katie grew up and went to school. I must admit that I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea. I struggle with the fact that the faith passed onto us from our family is dwindling faster and faster, and was hoping that some of that faith which was instilled in Joe through our time in Catholic school would have grown stronger as it became time for him to raise a child of his own. While I celebrate the baby having been initiated and baptized into a Christian community, I lament the fact it is a denomination, which, like the other Protestant groups, came into existence because of their staunch opposition to Catholicisim.

Joe makes me laugh in his approach to faith and religion. He is obsessed with family traditions and upholding them, even creating his own quirky traditions he observes every year. The rich traditions of Catholicism he tends to reject, mostly out of ignorance of what they mean, and laziness to do his research to find out what they are about and where they come from.

Despite my parents and I being a bit uncomfortable, we had a great time at the Christening dinner that evening, and shared a great meal with Katie's family, and some friends of Joe. Collin is such a joy for all of us, and we have all taken to our roles as uncles and aunt. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Note about the film: "Angels and Demons"

(Take from Fr. Z's web-blog- his comments in red. He does such a good job, I didn't feel the need to add)

Golly. I thought ANGELS AND DEMONS by Dan Brown would turn out to be just an ordinary run-of-the-mill Catholic-bashing hate-fest. But, no, the whoppers told strain credulity. Do people actually know that little about history? It seems that they do.

Here is what I picked up here and here.

Brown claims: Copernicus was murdered by the Catholic Church. [No… really… he does… stop laughing…]
Fact: Copernicus died quietly in bed at age 70 from a stroke, and his research was supported by Church officials; he even dedicated his masterwork to the Pope.

Brown claims: “Antimatter is the ultimate energy source. It releases energy with 100% efficiency.”
Fact: CERN, the lab which plays an important role in his story, actually debunked this claim on their website: “The inefficiency of antimatter production is enormous: you get only a tenth of a billion of the invested energy back.” [Oh yah? Tell that to Scotty!]

Brown claims: Churchill was a “staunch Catholic.”
Fact: Any history buff could tell you that Churchill wasn’t Catholic, he was Anglican; nor was he particularly religious. The only things Churchill was staunch about were cigars, whiskey, and defending the British Empire.

Brown claims: Pope Urban VII banished Bernini’s famous statue The Ecstasy of St. Teresa [ROFL!] “to some obscure chapel [?!?] across town” because it was too racy for the Vatican.
Fact: The statue was actually commissioned by Cardinal Cornaro specifically for the Cornaro Chapel (Brown’s “obscure chapel”). Moreover, the sculpture was completed in 1652 — eight years after Urban’s death.

Brown claims: Bernini and famed scientist Galileo were members of the Illuminati. [You have to love anything with the Illuminati!]
Fact: The Illuminati was founded in Bavaria in 1776. Bernini died in 1680, while Galileo died in 1642 — more than a century before the Illuminati were first formed. [oooops]

The idea that Copernicus was murdered by the Church is just too stupid for words. I mean, I have a pretty low threshold when it comes to Illuminati fiction. I love that ‘secret-history’ stuff.

I am not a hard sell. If you want to put in your book that Atlantis was a superhightech civilization destroyed by the extra-dimensional Eddorians in order to thwart Arisian attempts to breed mankind to create the Kwisatz Haderach, child of the Lens and the father of the race that will rule the Sevagram, I will suspend my disbelief like it was bouyant with helium.

You want to establish that a race of robots hidden in a secret base in Mount Ararat has been guiding human history since the time of Enoch, I am your man.

You want to say the Freemasons (who built the temple of Solomon) are the archenemies of the Slavemasons (who build the Great Pyramid of Cheops) have been fighting a duel to place or remove feng-shui-significant stonehenge, monuments, and Cathedrals at goethermal accupuncture points across Europe, Asia and the New World since the Bronze Age, and that all major wars and architectural firms are under their control, and involved in a secret aeons-old Cold War to prevent the telluric current from destroying this world as unwise abuses of the geomancy of the canals of Mars did that remote, dying world? Sure!

Shiwan Khan is actually a time-travelling alien from planet Mongo, granted eternal youth by the powers of alchemy, and he long ago replaced the royal family of England with Life-Model-Decoys which he controls with the ten magic rings he found in the wreckage of a spaceship from planet Maklu IV? Why not?

Lord Byron was a vampire? You would have to pay me money not to believe that. [I hope they never find out about the secret order of Vatican Vampire Assassins I have been researching… ]

Queen Elizabeth ran of coven of witches whose stormcrafty drowned the Aramda of Philip of Spain, after he had secretly adopted the practice of mass human sacrifice from his wife who was secretly an Aztec princess in order to gain magical control of an entire hemisphere’s worth of demon-cursed Mexican gold? Not only possible, but likely!

The entire Middle Ages is an elaborate fraud perpetrated by the Roman Empire, which never fell but simply went into hiding once Virgil the Magician discovered the tunnels leading to Pellucidar in the Hollow Earth? Seems reasonable to me!!

The US Congress killed and replaced by shape-changing seals from the Dreamlands who talk like movie pirates? Brother, I wrote it!

But the Catholic Church MURDERED Copernicus? Oh, my aching back. He was a churchman himself: why not simply order him to recant his findings?