Massachusetts Court Deals Another Blow to Real Marriage

Per Yahoo’s Liz Goodwin:

On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that the government’s ban on gay marriage, called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), violates the Constitution and should be struck down.

The court’s reasoning? Again, per Goodwin:

The First Circuit Court found that the federal government does not have a right to interfere in states’ definition of marriage, but stopped short of arguing that gay people have a constitutionally protected right to legal marriage. The case is likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court.

I agree with the federalist approach that most matters should be left up to state and local governments … but this principle, for the most part, was thrown out the window long ago. For decades the courts have been giving the federal government more and more power, so I find it … convenient … that in this instance, of all times, a court should suddenly place high value once again on states’ rights. But of course, this court is in Massachusetts, which was the first state to recognize same-sex “marriage.” Something smells funny, and it ain’t the watah in Boston Hahbah.

And for the record, I support DOMA; there is no “constitutionally guaranteed right” to same-sex marriage.

Checking on the Whether

Typebars in a 1920s typewriter

Language Lessons. … (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Language Lesson concerns one of my biggest linguistic pet peeves: following “whether” with “or not.”

By definition, the word whether implies dual possibilities, one of them positive (I will) and one of them negative (I won’t). For example:

Whether I go to the concert depends on how I’m feeling.

In other words, if I’m feeling better, I’ll go to the concert, but if I’m still not feeling well, I won’t—and the use of whether implies both possibilities. Thus, there is no need to add “or not.”

A few more examples:

My decision depends on whether we get the grant. (We might get the grant, we might not; either way, whether covers it.)

“I don’t care whether you like peas, you’re going to eat them!” said Mom. (You might like peas, you might not; whether includes both possibilities.)

The issue boils down to whether the company can produce enough whizz-bangs. (The company might be able to produce enough whizz-bangs, it might not be able to; whether covers both potential outcomes.)

Class dismissed … whether you like it (or not)! =)

Fact vs. Feeling

emotion icon

Emotions: Not what the Truth is about. … (Photo credit: Łukasz Strachanowski)

In at least one crucial way, religion is no different from any other aspect of life: You need to be wary of emotions.

Emotion has its place, in religion and in the rest of life: family celebrations and other festive occasions are times to crank up the fun factor; funerals and memorials are times for grieving and mourning; Halloween is a time to indulge a healthy amount of suspense. Emotions, however, have a downside: there’s always the danger of letting your feelings dictate your actions, in spite of any factual information telling you otherwise. If I’m wronged in some way (whether the wrong is real or perceived), I may feel like hauling off and smacking someone—but doing that could get me in a lot of hot water.

This issue is especially of concern in the area of religious belief, perhaps primarily because a good chunk of the subject matter deals with things not physically evident or empirically verifiable. That doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t a set of facts regarding the spiritual realm. Consider it logically:

  • Either there is a spiritual realm, or there isn’t; it can’t be both.
  • Either there’s one God, multiple gods, or no gods; it can be only one of these options.
  • If there is a God, He either cares about us or He doesn’t; it can’t be both.

And so forth.

Many people like to say that politics and religion are strictly a matter of opinion, but that’s false. I won’t comment on politics here, but religion, as I began to demonstrate in the above examples, has a set of facts about it, just like any other subject in human experience. So whatever you decide to follow or not follow as far as spirituality/religion/faith is not simply a matter of personal preference or a case of “what’s true for you isn’t true for me”; there’s a set of spiritual facts, and only one faith system, at most, can be correct on the most crucial points. A simple side-by-side comparison of the major doctrines of the various religions confirms this: Christianity and Islam and Mormonism and Scientology and Buddhism are all at odds with each other on major points of doctrine, so common sense says that only one of them, at most, could be right.

Many people, unfortunately, don’t like to bother with the facts, but instead like to go with whatever “feels right,” whatever system tells them what they want to hear. Case in point: Mormons and the “burning in the bosom.” Mormons like to tell people to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true, and that if you do this, you’ll experience a pleasant physical sensation in your chest—this “burning in the bosom”—signifying God’s affirmative answer. Not only is the power of suggestion in play here, but people are giving zero consideration to whatever facts are involved.

And in the case of Mormonism and other non-Christian religions, some of the facts being ignored or missed are downright absurd, making one wonder how these religions ever got any followers. Why does anyone subscribe to Mormonism when its founder’s lifelong pattern of fraudulent behavior is a matter of public record? Why does anyone follow Scientology when its inventor was a science fiction author? Why does anyone follow Islam when its founder was nothing more than an attention-seeking warmonger with an inferiority complex?

Really? You trust these guys? These facts don’t matter to you? Does a “burning in the bosom” or some other emotional experience outweigh the truth?

Even more unfortunately, some Christians groups fall for this same thing. I’m reminded of all those charismatic preachers who make a habit of getting the crowd worked up and emphatically push on the foreheads of their congregants, who seem to always faint and end up needing to be dragged offstage. I’m also reminded of megapreacher Joel Osteen, who always has a smile plastered on his face, apparently never having had a bad day in his life. His church is the biggest in America—and it’s no wonder, because the only thing his congregants ever hear is “the positive motivational speech”; you’ll never walk out of one of his services feeling anything but elated, believing that a material and financial windfall is just around the corner.

And don’t even get me started on “the Holy Ghost laughter.”

There is much to enjoy about God, and a relationship with Him certainly involves some pleasant emotions, but emotions aren’t the be-all and end-all—God, the Truth, is.

You May Be Wrong, You May Be Right

Typebars in a 1920s typewriter

Language Lessons. … (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I apologize for my prolonged neglect of Language Lessons—I’ve been focusing my time and attention on things such as Mormonism, creation vs. evolution, the fight over same-sex marriage, and the end of my first serialized novel, but class is now back in session.

What I’m going to teach you today maybe the most important Language Lesson yet.

Wait. That’s not true. Let me try again.

What I’m going to teach you today may be the most important Language Lesson yet.

Okay, so I’m sliiiiiightly exaggerating the impact and importance of this little column, but at least my second stab at that sentence was more accurate than the first. May be and maybe, with the exception of a slight pause in the former, sound identical, and have the same meaning, but they are not interchangeable.

Whenever you’re talking about whether you or someone else will be doing such-and-such, the correct form is may be:

Thomas may be going to the movies Friday night.

We may be out of town next weekend.

I may be going back to school next fall.

Maybe, on the other hand, is used mostly as an answer to a question … :

Sam: Do you want to go out for ice cream later?

Jerry: Maybe.

… and occasionally in awkward constructions (these are usually spoken, not written):

I’m thinking I’ll maybe go to the fair next weekend.

And that’s the story of maybe vs. may be. Class dismissed. =)

The Absurdity of Evolutionary Thought

Anti-evolution car in Athens, Georgia

Anti-evolution car in Athens, Georgia. … (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe in creationism, not evolution, so of course there are many things about evolution I find absurd, but perhaps most absurd are the origins arguments evolutionists propose.

To begin at the broadest point, evolution posits that somehow something came from nothing—literally. Somehow, according to the theory, the universe exploded into existence where there previously had been not just a void (which is something), but nothing at all, no material existence. To narrow things a bit more, evolution says life sprang from nonlife, that a pool of chemicals (and who knows where those came from) produced some sort of reaction that in turn produced the first living organism, like Frankenstein’s monster rising from a pile of lifeless, stitched-together body parts.

Something from nothing. Life from nonlife. Without any outside assistance or intervention.

Completely absurd.

But it gets even better. I’ll presume, for the sake of argument, that this primordial soup of chemicals did produce the first living organism, some sort of single-celled creature. This life form would have to be self-replicating, which is reasonable (such organisms exist today), but where would it get the genetic information to produce anything but more single-celled organisms like itself? Did random mutations produce new information? Impossible; mutations do not produce new info—in fact, any mutations would result only in a loss of genetic information, so the only thing the single-celled organism could produce would be more versions of itself, and genetically degraded ones at that. Thus, without outside assistance or intervention, no new information would be available, which means no other life forms could ever have arisen.

Evolutionists often enjoy mocking Biblical, creationist thinking, but if God is God, He can do anything. More to the point, He can do all the things that atheistic, evolutionary thinking can’t account for: create something out of nothing, create life from nonlife, and create all the basic kinds of creatures, each kind independent of the others but with enough built-in genetic flexibility to produce the great variety of species we see in the world today.

Obama Now Says He Favors Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

Shocking. As though he never really held this position until now.

It seems to me that he was “against” it during the last election only because it made him seem less radical and slightly more palatable to some voters, but now that he’s stunk it up for nearly four years and really needs the support of his restless liberal base more than ever, he’s dropped the facade. In an interview with ABC News’s Robin Roberts, the great one had this to say:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” (editing mistakes theirs, not mine)

I’d like you to focus on some key words and phrases from that quote: “incredibly committed” and “raising kids.” What Obama’s doing here is something I’ve seen lots of homosexual advocates do: telling you a sob story to divert attention from the real issue—that homosexuality is wrong. “These two men (or two women) are loving, and committed, and even raising kids—you don’t want to break that up, do you?” Oh, nooo, why would I want to break up something that should never have been in the first place? Let’s try applying this liberal (il)logic to other, similar situations (something liberals hate to do):

“This man and these three women are loving, and committed, and even raising kids—you don’t want to break that up, do you?”

Or how about this:

“This 30-year-old woman and this 16-year-old boy are in a loving, committed relationship—you don’t want to break that up, do you?”

But they never think of that stuff. To begin with, they never even stop to consider whether homosexuality is right, and then they never look any farther down the slippery moral slope—no farther than their libido and political fortunes currently dictate. So now President LGBT GLSEN PFLAG Lambda Legal (oops) Obama has publicly, officially, unfortunately declared war on traditional marriage. Just another reason to vote him out in November.

North Carolina, Colorado Strike Back at Homosexual Agenda

Español: Intercambio de anillos entre los novios

What God intended. … (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The citizens of North Carolina dealt the homosexual movement a severe setback Tuesday, voting by an overwhelming 61 to 39 percent to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage” and legal recognition of unmarried couples by state and local authorities.

This is fantastic news. North Carolina becomes the last state in the South and the 31st overall to add a marriage amendment to its constitution, in the process sending a strong message to this country’s liberal factions that there are still plenty of us who want to see real marriage preserved.

In related news, a bill that would’ve allowed same-sex couples to form civil unions died in the Colorado House on Tuesday when what was essentially a Republican filibuster used up what time remained before the 2012 legislative session came to a close.

This was an extra-good piece of news, because civil unions are often viewed as an easier-to-acquire alternative or even precursor to same-sex “marriage”—the lesser of two evils, so to speak—so preventing them from happening pushes the possibility of same-sex “marriage” even further away.

I’m sure the homosexual lobby won’t back down or stop trying to force us all to accept the perversion it touts, and we’ll probably be hammered with stories of how these measures will “keep homosexual couples apart” or “keep them from visiting each other in the hospital,” but these are red herrings. Homosexuals still have the same civil (political) rights as the rest of us, they can still live the lifestyle they’ve always lived, and a simple will guarantees the desired transfer of monies, properties, and other possessions to one’s “partner.” As for hospital visits, I think that’s an overblown issue, not frequently encountered, that can usually be worked out within the family; this country certainly doesn’t need another case of the will of a very few being dictated to the vast majority, i.e. (absence of) prayer in schools.

Besides all that, this issue generally isn’t about any of those things; it’s about a relatively small group of people practicing a deviant lifestyle who aren’t content to just live their lives according to their morally wrong choices, but want the rest of us—individuals, governments, churches, everyone—to validate and legitimize something we have a real problem with. Sorry (not really), but that’s not gonna happen.

People such as me, of course, will be demonized by the Left for this stance, but I know who I am: I respect homosexual people as fellow humans made in the image of God, no less valuable than anyone else, and I respect their right to decide the course of their lives. That said, there’s still such a thing as absolute right and wrong (as defined by the only One whose definition matters), and homosexuality is one of the many wrong behaviors humans engage in. As such, I can’t support or agree with it.

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