Other states can pick a president too

With all due respect to the citizens of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, how is it fair that they get such disproportionate power over the rest of us every election cycle? Why should some states always be given greater influence to determine the presidential nominee, over and over again?

primaries_early.jpgI’m getting ready to vote, but my two favorite candidates have already dropped out, because these other privileged states have already determined them not to be viable. Same thing happened in 2004. Same states.

It’s time to shake up that unfair influence. The privilege of picking the “viable” nominees should be on a rotation, not just given to the same select voters every time.

Here’s the Tom Ryberg proposal:

Every four years, the major parties pick three different states to go first: one coastal, one midwestern, and one southern. All others vote on Super Tuesday, or thereafter.

Think I’m onto something? Tired of voting after it’s all but been predetermined for you already? Tell them about it (and while you’re at it, tell them too).

Lest we forget: there were no WMD

As of today, 3931 U.S. soldiers and 80,625 and 88,048 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of our war.

It’s been less than five years since the beginning of this immoral, endless war. The blood of our soldiers and of Iraqi civilians is on the hands of Bush administration, which is singularly responsible for getting us into this disaster.

Bush and his surrogates (knowingly?) used flawed intelligence to make their case, lied about the imminent threat posed by Iraq, and shamelessly exploited post-9/11 American and world unity in order to convince Congress and huge percentages of the American populace to go along with it.

How did they sell this to so many of us in the first place? WMD. Eradicating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was the “one reason everyone could agree on” according to
Paul Wolfowitz (but hey, what did he know?).

And, contrary to what many peope unfortunately still believe, there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. NONE.

Worst of all, we’ll be cleaning up the mess for years.

What a disgrace. Though there’s no occasion for remembering all this right now, we must stay vigilant–or at least enough so as to never allow this sort of international travesty to happen again.

Welcome to first-time visitors

particularly those coming from Fran’s great site!  She’s just about the nicest person on the entire Internet, from what I can tell.

You can find out more about me and this blog in the aptly-titled section, About me.  Thanks for dropping by, and don’t be a stranger!

Same-sex marriage: Staying out of God’s way

In response to my op-ed on marriage below, in which I suggest that one reason conservatives oppose same-sex marriage is because it threatens the to undermine the power of the patriarchy (go read it), commenter Russ writes the following:

Marriage was created by God and He alone has the authority to define it.

Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The scripture that Russ appropriates comes from Matthew 19:4-6. The backstory is that Jesus is answering the Pharisees’ famous question on tying the knot: “Can two dudes get married?”

Actually, as some of you may know, the topic at hand is about heterosexual divorce, not gay marriage, though it sure would be convenient for Russ and others if Jesus actually did take sides on this issue. But this is what I want to get at here (extracted from my response to Russ’ comment):

As Jesus warns us above, I certainly do not advocate the separation of those whom God has joined together. To the contrary, this is precisely why I advocate marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples. Who are humans, or even government, to stand in the way?

We need to remember that there is more criteria to the Christian marriage ethic than simply whether there is one man and one woman. For example, a marriage predicated on abuse or destructive behavior is not God-ordained. We need to open up to the possibility that God is calling us to unite not only in terms of gender, but perhaps more relevantly, in terms of a relationship that is spiritually fulfilling, mutual, monogamous and wholesome. I know many gay and lesbian Christians whose relationships meet the criteria of the Christian marriage ethic as well or better than many straight couples I know.

Finally, we need to stop assuming that God is somehow in error in creating people to be gay or lesbian. Who are we to question God’s creation, simply because aspects of it transcend our understanding? To be sure: we need to address sin where we encounter it, but the biological fact of sexual orientation is no sin–and it’s not an accident! Humans need to get out of the way and embrace that which the Creator has made good.

For more on this, see Acts 10:9-29.

What does marriage really mean?

This is an op-ed I wrote for a class on public theology, taught by Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite. It is the culmination of much thinking about marriage, specifically with regards to my personal experience and also in broader terms relating to greater society as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Bible is not God

Many people seem to confuse faith in God with faith in the inerrancy of the Bible. Ergo, if you question the Bible, you’re questioning God. Not so–the Bible and God are not the same thing. God is…um…let’s see here…okay, let’s just say God is God. (We’ll solve that easy question later.) But the Bible? That’s a quantifiable, human-made compilation of some really awesome/terrifying/boring stories written by humans about God. We might say that many of these humans were divinely inspired, but that is not the same thing as saying that the Bible is on par with God (or Jesus).

This question came up at another site when somebody made the following statement:

“As the Bible is ALL ABOUT Jesus to declare it to be in error is to cast doubt about Jesus.”

(Here’s what I had to say):

You are conflating faith in Jesus with faith in the accuracy of the Bible, but one does not depend on the other. It is belief in Jesus Christ – not in biblical accuracy – that is the source of our salvation. Whether we believe the Bible is “in error” to some degree is ultimately a secondary matter.

Believing in Jesus Christ as Savior does not mean that you must avert your eyes to the contradictions, and yes, there are plenty, found in the Bible. Neither must we make excuses for depictions of horrific violence, nor for the disturbing ancient practices found in the Bible. The Bible itself does not claim that it is infallible, just like it does not claim that it must be taken 100% literally.

Having said that, I do not believe that the Bible is “in error” so much as “in flux”. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments there are full on disagreements between the biblical authors themselves–particularly how previous texts should be interpreted, or what God’s real priorities were.

In some cases, biblical authors wrote texts designed to “correct” what they saw as flaws in the standard versions of particular stories. (For a classic example of this, read the David narratives in II Samuel, then read how the author of the Chronicles retold the story, changing significant details as he saw fit.)

But you can call into question some parts of the Bible without saying the whole thing is useless! The Bible was written by faithful Israelites and Christians, many of whom we would consider to be divinely inspired. It is our heritage, and there is much to be learned from our ancestors.