Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another manifesto

I think an essay I wrote yesterday belongs here. It was in response to this story about a proposed ban on gay marriage in Wisconsin, particularly this quote:

Jenny Baierl, the Evansville mother and pro-amendment activist, said she knows from experience the challenges of having two women as parents. Baierl was raised by her mother and grandmother after her father was killed by a drunken driver when she was 5.

Though the two women loved her, Baierl had no uncles or grandfather to fill the void her father had left, she said. That searing experience, the teachings of her Christian faith, and her marriage to her husband John, leave Baierl with a powerful certainty about the value of traditional marriage.

"I had no male role models," said Baierl, 33, who now lives in an all-male household with her husband and two young sons in Evansville. " I feel like I was really cheated."

Here is my response:

I don't know why I feel this passionately about gay marriage. I'm a straight, white, heterosexual guy with a lovely wife and two teenaged sons. I am a Christian. And yet............

I guess the reason this pisses me off so much is that the Christian right has made such a big deal about it, and in so doing make it sound like ALL Christendom is behind them. WE are not.

Is homosexuality a sin? Let's look at it from a Christian perspective. If you look at the Bible, Jesus speaks out against all manner of misbehavior, but he seemed especially bent on injustice toward the disenfranchised. If homosexuality was such a big deal, why did Christ rarely, if ever, speak on the subject?

When asked to boil down his teachings, Jesus quoted Dueteronomy and Leviticus:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

This, to me, is the starting point of Christianity. This is it, right from the horse's mouth. Here is what this means to me: A person should love God, the Divine, the Goddess, the Ultimate Power, whatever you call Him or Her or It. A person should love God enough to use his life to pay homage to his Creator.

Then, there is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. WTF does this mean? It means we treat others with dignity. We treat them as human. We treat them with compassion. WE DO NOT JUDGE THEM. These two commandments are amplified in the 12th Chapter of Paul's Letter to the Romans. I won't quote it all here, but the key points are these:

1. Hold yourself to the highest possible standard. In your heart of hearts, do what you can to honor God.

2. Deal with others charitably. Do what you can to help them and make the world better for them. Even your ENEMIES. We are not to judge our enemies; that is God's job. Therefore, as a heterosexual male, it's not my place to judge something I do not, I cannot, understand.

All this stuff boils down to a single thing to a heterosexual Christian: Integrity. We are to treat others well, we are to serve the cause of Goodness in the world. So as a heterosexual Christian, I think we should allow gay people follow the same standard: Act with integrity to make the world a better place. Follow your soul; be who you are. As long as you treat those around with integrity, what more can be asked?

Because that's what all the laws and commandments boil down to: Integrity. Treat others well. Do your best. We teach our kids this in kindergarten; how do we subsequently lose our way?


*Goes off into a corner and weeps for what Christianity is becoming.*

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Okay, so.... it's been a while

What's going on in the family? Well, Mrs. D. took that job at the big school district big high school. She is teaching 10th grade World History at a school in a... um.... (thinking of euphamism)... disadvantaged area. She really had a tough time adjusting.

Being in a large urban public school is better in some sense compared to the charter school she was at last year. The charter school didn't pay as well and never had the money for even the basic stuff so she ended up spended a good chunk of her pay on school supplies and such. On top of that, the owner of the school was a real dipwad.

Her new school doesn't have those problems. She's paid quite a bit more and the school is much better about providing the basics. Instead, she has to contend with overcrowding. She's a "floater" who doesn't have her own classroom. She teaches in three different classrooms. The other thing that just gets to her is the level of apathy- both among the students and the faculty. She has 10th grade students that have never been made to write an essay. And considering the part of town it's in, there are a lot of students who don't care about their education, and neither do their parents; in fact, for many of these kids, the parents aren't even a positive aspect of their lives in any way.

She's made some progress, though. She's challenging the students like they've never been challenged before. There are still the deadbeats, but she's getting through to some of them. I just hope she doesn't burn out.