Same-Sex Marriage Part IV: The Inevitability of Reason

peace on earth

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle. You don’t have to know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Reflection on this quote from the greatest voice of peace and the foremost-leader in the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. makes me hope for a time similar to the one that Dr. King fought for.   His, a utopia where color was not seen, but people were people.  Mine, a time in which a person may openly express who they are, who they love, and how they feel; a time in which people are not believed to be lesser for qualities they hold.  This is my dream.

I have examined a brief history of the homosexual social taboo, stated and rebutted the arguments against same-sex marriage, and presented a case for marriage equality.  It is clear to me that revocation of the rights of homosexuals, including the right to be recognized under marriage, would be a violation of the innate rights understood by our species.

We are all members of the same species, made of the same matter, with the same physical properties.  It seems to be that petty differences in lifestyle, hope, fear, education, etc. are minuscule.  And yet, amplified they remain, as a vessel by which the greedy will take control over the passive, the violent will harm the peaceful, and the wicked will rule the good.

“Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?”

– Ronald Reagan

The time is now.  The United States Supreme Court will rule on the cases presented to them in March of 2013, and they will decide that a person’s sexual orientation is not a means by which it is acceptable to deny marriage rights to.  The Defense of Marriage Act will be lifted and, like No Child Left Behind, there will be no place for misleading and heinous legislation in our country.

We cannot allow petty differences in lifestyle to give rise to the destruction remaining in foundation of liberty that we enjoy, and yet, allow to fade away in times of need.  We cannot allow bronze-age literature to control legislation.  We cannot advocate the demise of progress.  The time for meaningful rhetoric is now.  The time for change is now. The inevitability of reason arising is at hand. The world is evolving, and our social values are no different.  It is only with the acceptance of alternative lifestyles as normal that we can lift the veil of deceit from over our eyes.  We are not different.  It is only through peace

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon

Advertisements

Same-Sex Marriage Part II: God’s Country and the Future of Our Children

READ ME

In Part II of this series, I outline the religious and non-religious arguments against marriage equality and expose problems in the argumentation.

Though it may be rightfully considered a religious issue, there are arguments used from both religious and non-religious sides.  Although, the reasoning of the non-religious arguments generally holds root in American Religious tradition.  It is known, albeit sometimes ignored, that our Constitutional provisions disallow any law being created for or because of religious doctrine or belief.  Even so, there are those among us that would seek to find some logical argument, even while exercising fallacies, to create a country in which their rights are sound and the rights of others are expendable.  This is the platform of those against marriage equality.

We will save the fun, religious arguments for later.  First, let us address the “non-religious” platforms for the inequality our country pronounces.  Of the three most used statements of non-religious origins, two of heavily involve the future of our children. First, ‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’  Second, ‘Gays marrying will confuse children about gender roles.’  Finally, ‘If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?’ The last one is my favorite.

‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’  This may be the most common argument used against same-sex marriage.  This is argument is one that is a surrogate for the religious arguments because it is not sound in constitutional law, instead, a much more defensive ideal that instills fear into the masses.  It solidly professes the idea that “they” will take away what “I” hold dearly to my heart.   The argument is not strong, however, because of the defensive, fear inducing motivation, and the illusion of “traditional family values.”   Traditional family values date back to the late 1940s/early 1950s.   We have all heard the term ‘Nuclear Family.’  A man and women, father works a middle-class day job and the mother is the homemaker.  They also have a couple kids that go to suburban public schools.  With the rise of fear of godless communism in the 1950s, the suburban family needed something to cling to.  Thus, the traditional family values that have since become obsolete.   Now, this tradition, being less than five generations old and already outdated with the rise of one-parent households, ambiguous gender roles, and the semi-acceptance of unmarried gay couples adopting children is irrelevant in the discussion.

Much more simply denied is the belief that gay parents would confuse children about gender roles.   In the early 1990s, unmarried gay couples adopting children started to become much more common.  Though the fear that it would destroy the future of the children was not realized, there are still groups that would perpetuate the opposite.  Since World War II, gender roles in the household have become more and more ambiguous and now, an equal number of men and women hold professional positions and do equal work in the house.  Like the previous argument, this one is irrelevant.

The final non-religious argument is my favorite.  While stating it facetiously, I enjoy using a southern accent.  “If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?”  Really, any barnyard animal can be substituted.   This is a perfect argument for the uneducated because it is a perfect example of the slippery slope logical fallacy.   Telling the layperson that the argument is a slippery slope fallacy will not convince them, so we will delve more deeply.  This is a comparison between a gay man or woman and a horse.  This argument exposes the true feelings of those against equality of any kind.  They believe that the others are lower beings, like animals.  There should be no fear that same sex marriage would give way to man-marrying-animal because an animal cannot consent and are not cognitively aware as Homo sapiens are.  If you worry about polygamy, then you’re not reading your bible very well- multiple instances in which the bible endorses it.  Additionally, Mohammed is famous for taking on many wives, and endorsing such acts if the household-head can support them all.

Though also irrelevant in law, the religious arguments are important to address because American religious institutions seem to not understand that they do not have political power outside of their own sect.  The first thing that American Christians tell you when you say ‘same-sex marriage’ is “I believe it is a sin in the bible.”  We all know what the passage reads basically that a man laying with other men as they do with women is an ‘abomination.’  The term ‘abomination’ is one of the most popular words for a Christian.  However, they seem to forget that in the same breath, the primitive middle-eastern writer also states that eating ham and wearing clothing of multiple fabrics is an ‘abomination.’  There is no way to reconcile this without admitting that the reader can interpret the severity of the sin and make their own assumptions as to what it is supposed to mean.  By trying, you take credibility away from your own argument because an average Christian parishioner is not equipped at all to interpret their own holy book.

Finally, it is common to hear that marriage sanctity is important.  Christians in America truly believe that marriage is the creation of Christians before them, and must be protected.  I will admit that if a church chooses to not marry two people, for whatever reason, the law cannot and should not force them to.  However, religious marriage and legal marriage as observed by the government are not interchangeable.  Obviously, the phrase “sanctity of marriage” is laughable, unless you include polygamy and womanservents.  I say: let the religions hate.  They will lose their members and die out (like the ultra-conservative Republican Party) unless they move with civilization into the 21st century and beyond.

The next part in this series will discuss the arguments for marriage equality.  If you wish to refute my arguments or discuss further, please comment and share this article.

 

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon

1000 Hits: To Continue a Great Dialogue

Friends,

It has been a six days since my last post.  I do not have a set schedule of when to write posts, I had just been writing when I had free time.  Unfortunately, I have not had that luxury in the past week.  I will come back as soon as tomorrow evening with another topic of discussion that I hope will be as lively as my posts about health care, gun control, religion, and conservatism.

I started this ‘blog’ three weeks ago with no aspirations.  Yesterday, I surpassed the mark of 1000 views. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for coming to read and discuss the topics that I find interesting.

I have also been receiving a large number of comments.  I have been trying to answer all of them and will continue to do so, but please forgive me if I do not reply immediately to them.  I value all of your opinions, as I hope you value mine and encourage you to continue discussing these issues with me and among each other.

I hope that our great dialogue can continue to 1000 more site views and beyond.

Thank you,

Dustin McMahon

Gun Control: About Saving Lives, Not Personal Freedom

Image

It seems like every time I turn on the news, there is at least one more dead from a gunshot.  Every couple of months, we get treated to a mass shooting, or rampage, or spree by someone that is obviously off-their-rockers and attempting to take as many people down as they can before ending their own life.

This is life as an American.  If we are the “lucky” ones not to have already fallen to gun violence, we have become victims of the war of the Constitutionality of weapon ownership.  Much like what is done with the Bible, some try to interpret the 2nd Amendment literally, while others think it has more of a figurative meaning.  Both sides are nonsensical.  Interpretation of the Second Amendment by modern minds is not going to retard the gun murders occurring in almost every American city every day.

We all know the statistics and I will try to refrain polluting this diatribe with any more quantifiable data than necessary. You can use your favorite online search engine to verify any of these numbers, and I recommend you do.  First off, according to the Violence Policy Center, a non-profit organization that aims to curb firearm violence through research and awareness, over 30,000 suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings result in occur every year in America due to easily-accessed guns.  About 10,000 of those are murders.

These numbers seem high, and are more eye-opening when compared to a few other countries (estimates based on the average of multiple sources):

Mexico: 2600  deaths per year            (pop. 116,901,761) (Gun laws similar to United States)

Germany: 250  deaths per year            (pop. 81,946,000) (Strict gun laws and ban on certain types of guns)

Canada: 150    deaths per year            (pop. 35,000,000) (Handgun and Assault weapons ban)

Japan: 50         deaths per year            (pop. 127,400,000) (Complete private gun ownership ban)

United Kingdom: 14    deaths per year (pop. 63,181,700) (Complete private gun ownership ban)

I chose to show these countries not because they express the point I want to make, but because they are all countries with similar laws, freedoms, and rights as those that Americans have.  However, with the exception of Mexico, all of these countries ban most or all firearm ownership.

The first thing you may notice is that all of these countries have a considerably lower population than the United States (pop. 350,000,000).  This separation could be a reason for less death.  However, if you multiply the population of each country to be the same or near the population of America, you still get considerably lower firearm related deaths each year:

Mexico:  7800 (with 351,000,000 population)

Germany: 1000            (with 328,000,000 population)

Canada:  1500 (with 350,000,000 population)

Japan:  150 (with 380,000,000 population)

United Kingdom:  84 (with 378,000,000 population)

These numbers do not take into consideration the population density increase that would come from increasing the populations by up to ten times (in the case of Canada).  A case could be made that in a more densely populated country, let’s say Japan, gun violence would increase.  However, it would not increase by 200% (which would be required to reach the same amount of firearm deaths annually in Japan as there are in America).  You would be hard pressed to find anyone that would make that claim.

I now draw your attention to the number of deaths in Mexico in a hypothetical instance of a similar population as the United States.  You will notice that it is the only country that is within even ten times the number of gun-related murders per year; it is also the only country listed with similar gun laws as America and no private-ownership ban on weapons.

The second quality to notice about these numbers is that the four countries with firearms bans, Germany, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom still have ten or less the times gun deaths that the United States has.  The closest country, Canada, would hypothetically have about 1500 per year. This number is can be accounted for by the fact that Canada does not ban hunting rifles or shotguns.

Plainly, the common denominator between all of these countries is a comprehensive private gun-ownership ban.

An argument made by gun-enthusiasts can be stated as such:  We do not need more gun control; we need better background checks and more money in the education of mental health issues.  If we can stop the mentally ill from getting firearms, we can cut gun violence.

The mentally ill are accountable for most, if not all of the mass shooting deaths in America.  In 2012, about 88 people died in mass-shooting massacres in the United States.  I will concede that more money spent on mental health education and training with increased background checks would probably prevent most of these occurrences. This, however, keeps alive the issue of the other 9912 people that die each year from petty crime, organized crime, crimes of passion, etc. It would be difficult to claim that even half of the remaining deaths would/could be prevented with mental health screenings and background checks.

Gun advocates also reason that they need weapons to protect themselves from criminals that come across guns illegally.  If you don’t believe that a gun ban would decrease amount of firearms in criminal hands (which would be irrational based on the statistics above), you may think that you need a gun to “protect yourself” or your family.

In a study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, over the course of 18 months of study, 626 shootings occurred in or immediately around a residence.

“This total included 54 unintentional shootings, 118 attempted or completed suicides, and 438 assaults/homicides. Thirteen shootings were legally justifiable or an act of self-defense, including three that involved law enforcement officers acting in the line of duty.”

The conception that you are in danger in your own home is justifiable, but it appears, only if you own a firearm.  You are much more likely to unintentionally harm someone (or commit suicide) with your weapon than you are to actually use the weapon in self-defense.

In an attempt to try to reconcile the dangers of owning a gun, many people have argued that they would keep their guns locked up in a safe until they are needed.

So, the next time a burglar attempts to break into your house, I hope he/she gives you time to recognize the situation, run to the safe, unlock the safe, arm the weapon, aim, and shoot.

The final strong case that the gun advocates can make is that we have the right to own guns.  Our founding fathers wanted us to have the rights to arm ourselves against our own countrymen, or Zeus-forbid, or own government.  And to this, I also concede.

America, you do have Second Amendment rights to own guns, and as interpreted by modern supreme courts, for just about any reason you want.  I ask you, however, is an outdated, overanalyzed, and unnecessary right worth the loss and anguish that it causes?  30,000 citizens die each year.  When will the genocide be halted?  This issue is no longer about personal freedom, it is about saving lives.

Is your fear of your neighbor so great that you must arm yourself, and give those who wish to harm the innocent a means of doing so much more easily by allowing open circulation of weapons of terror?

A comprehensive weapons ban on all private ownership of firearms is the only way to prevent the streets from continuing to run red with the blood of our future as a nation.

I implore you, put the gun down, extend your arms, and come together. Do not let our country become so divided that we have to use these weapons on each other, because the pen has failed.

Twitter: @dustin_mcmahon