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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 5:30 pm    Post subject: Democrats Kill Owen Nomination Reply with quote

Democrats Kill Owen Nomination
I was quite nervous that she would get in. Only 1 Democrat was needed to approve the nomination.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was it that you didn't like about Owen?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't speak for kanuslupus, but for one, when she dissented in a case on the Texas Supreme Court about parental notification for abortion, the other justices who heard the case, who were Republicans, wrote that opposition to abortion "does not excuse judges who impose their own personal convictions into what must be a strictly legal enquiry."

Another couple of quotes from an article by Michelle Goldberg of Salon (paid reg required for full article):

Quote:
Priscilla Owen also has a history of putting her beliefs before legal exactitude -- in one parental bypass case, Al Gonzales, her Republican colleague on the bench, called her position an "unconscionable act of judicial activism." Now White House counsel, Gonzales is responsible for promoting Owen's confirmation.

Unlike McConnell, Owen has not won the support of anyone except her ideological kin. According to Susan Hayes, a former clerk in the Texas Supreme Court who later represented abortion-seeking minors in front of Owen, "Her nomination really shocked a lot of Texas Supreme Court insiders, because she was not considered the best and the brightest. She has trouble keeping up with her workload. My biggest issue with her is her workload and the clarity of her opinions. Her job as an appellate judge is to make the law clearer for the lower courts. Her opinions are difficult to follow, and she's slow. If the White House is concerned about the backlog in the federal judiciary, she's not a very good pick."

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article I linked to mentions a few things. rac also ponts out some 'problem areas'.
I'm neither liberal nor conservative. However, when one party, usually the conservatives, attempts to make laws based on their religious beliefs, I tend to become irritable. Why? Because those laws will affect me.

Nothing to see here, move along.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
However, when one party, usually the conservatives, attempts to make laws based on their religious beliefs, I tend to become irritable.

Agreed -- I wish people would remember that the Constitution is what governs this country, and not any particular religion... (especially since the ability to choose your own religion is one of the founding precepts of this country...)

--kurt
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
especially since the ability to choose your own religion is one of the founding precepts of this countryt

... or choose no religion.

I sincerely hope Bush is removed from office in the next election. Here is Wisconsin people have an "Anyone But McCallum" slogan, to try and vote out the incumbent governor this fall. I think we need an "Anyone But Bush" slogan too. While I think both of the major parties are corrupt, I would have to vote for Gore again just to get Bush out.

If only this were true. Ahh ... the good ol' Bubba days.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

::sigh:: I didn't really want to get in a huge debate, but I have to say that both the parties are *not* any more corrupt in the public's eye than when they first came into existance. When George Washington said, "Beware of Political Parties!" he should have said, "Political Parties are OK as long as the people don't declare themselves members of one party and then stop paying attention to politics other than to show up on election day." I was running an ANYONE but Clinton campaign both of the times he ran. Hell, I would have voted for a gimped up old dude who now supports Viagra before I would have voted for electing the morally corrupt. Dubya may not be the best President ever, but at least he's straightforward and you always know what he really wants to do.

On a side note, I think it's the government's responsibility to enfore some moral responsibility. Otherwise we woud live in a morally depraved society. Think about a society where it's someones religion to murder someone at least once a day. Obviously, most people would say that that person should not have the right to practice this 'religion'. However, at what point of societal decay and personal injury do we draw the line?

Ok, now I'm going to give a real world example with my own opinions. Please don't take any of this as a personal attack. If my absolutism bothers you, then you can decide if you think I'm right or wrong. If I'm right then you can change. If I'm wrong then you can speak out against me or dismiss me as a lunatic. However, at least you'll be able to know what to do with it. (as opposed to the relative approach where somehow everyone lives in a different universe where some things may be right for some people and wrong for others..)

Here we go: <opinion> If I think, and if for the sake of argument more than half of the rest of the population also thinks, that gay marriage is a horrible, vile thing and it psychologically and morally damages myself and my family to live in a society where this happens, should it be outlawed? Where do the rights of the majority outweigh the rights of the minority? Here's an excellent example of what I mean with reagards to gay marriages, which many consider to be a religious topic. </opinion>

maybe i did want to get in an argument.. :)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
On a side note, I think it's the government's responsibility to enfore some moral responsibility.

Absolutely, 100% no way. It is the government's responsibility to enforce the laws that we, the people, tell them to create. Nothing more, nothing less. If we, the people, decide that <pick a topic> will lead the country into moral depravity then it is up to we, the people, to tell our government that we want a law that outlaws <your topic>.

It is not the government's job to decide what our morals should/shouldn't be. It's only their job to enforce the laws. If it isn't against the law, then the gubment should just stay the hell away from it.

[EDIT]I realize that you did mention "outlawed" a few times in your statement. I just want to draw a clear, hard, large distinction between enforcing laws and enforcing morals. One is the job of the governemnt, one is the job of the people, by telling our government to create new laws.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
Dubya may not be the best President ever, but at least he's straightforward and you always know what he really wants to do.

Warning: What follows is a political rant based on my views. I'm not Republican or Democrat, but do lean towards the liberal side. I love people and loathe the facism that is apparent in the current US administration.

"He" doesn't want anything but to try to not look like Curious George on TV. He is puppet of the oil corporations mainly, but the occassional environmental rapist gets to pull the strings once in a while (big automakters, etc).

It is incredibly frustrating to reads the things he proposes and then have to actually realize that there are people who defend this person. The Bush family as a whole have been political puppets for oil barons.

For frustrating reading on how we're all screwed read this and that. Try to resist suicidal urges, we only have 2.5 years left.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 7:51 pm    Post subject: Morals... Reply with quote

Morals are at the center of the dilemma and it is becoming more problematic as America becomes more culturally diverse everyday. First a definition from Merriam Webster (www.m-w.com)

Quote:
moral - 1 a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ETHICAL <moral judgments> b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a moral poem>


Now who defines right and wrong behavior? There are many factors of which I will condense down to society and it's culture. There are cultures that find it highly offensive if you shake hands / present things with any other hand than your right hand...why? Well because this particular society doesn't have toilet paper and the left hand is the one chosen by the society to do the dirty work. Is shaking with the left hand wrong in America? Some might find it odd but usually people would shake whatever hand is presented because, here, rejecting a hand shake is usually a sign of confrontation and hostility.


That is just one example. America has become much more culturally diverse since it was founded. With all these new cultures there are new morals. Some times these new morals conflict with morals that have been here in the past. For instance the Jewish moral to not eat pork. Should all of America be forced to go by this new moral? Or what if Southern Baptists who believes women should not preach had their way? Should all of America believe that women should not have any real important position? I believe the resounding answer is no. However you will find that the certain Southern Baptists or Jewish people hold these morals very closely and believe that not following them is wrong and might believe that we should all to hell for not following them. Just as some Christians believe that all who don't believe in Jesus will go to hell. Just as American gov't believes that everyone should be capitalist. Or avg. Americans wonder why everyone doesn't speak english (well maybe that's a problem with the educational system but I digress) But the fact is there are many different people in the world and each of them will have a different definition of what is right and wrong.

Thank goodness for the foresight our founding Father's had in doing a great job in keeping many these highly opinionated moral groups away from our gov't. Why?

Because sometimes the needs of the few out weigh the needs of the many.

The problem is that people with a certain morals don't want others with conflicting sets of morals to not be assimilated. They are afraid that the other moral might 'infect' others. For instance same sex marriages. You have 2 people that love each other and they want to make a promise that they are going to care for each other for the rest of their lives. How could that be wrong?

Above all else each person has a brain. They can make decisions for themselves. The only way that can be perverted is if society purposely holds back information or alters information to make them think in a certain way. And in this day in age that's becoming quite common.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
...Think about a society where it's someones religion to murder someone at least once a day. Obviously, most people would say that that person should not have the right to practice this 'religion'. However, at what point of societal decay and personal injury do we draw the line?

There's a pretty simple rule that dictates the limits of a person's rights. Your rights end where your actions interfere with the rights of others. So, you're allowed to practice your religion insofar as it does not interefere with the rights of others. If your religion tells you to kill somebody, obviously, you don't have the right to do that because it steps on another person's right to live (not to mention screwing up their liberty and persuit of happiness).

I think that rule is a very good guide for sorting out how far a person's rights go. The debate that's left is over what rights each individual/animal/fetus/zygote/carrot has.

Ideally, laws are created to protect the rights of individuals and groups (even corporations, which do have rights). Laws are also created to promote order and the general health and well being of society. Sadly, that's not always how it goes in practice.

-- sudden subject change --

On the subject of gay marriage... I don't have a particularly strong opinion. Marriage, in the tradition case, is a government sanctioned union of two consenting, single adults of the opposite sex. Theoretically, the government sanctions such a union because of one or both of the following reasons:
a) consenting, single adults of the opposite sex have the right to marry.
b) marriages between consenting, single adults of the opposite sex benefits society.

I _think_ most people would agree with both reasons (or at least, both reasons being the reasoning behind government sanctioned marriages, if you get my reasoning). In the case of polygamy, in theory, it is illegal because you do not have a right to marry more than one person, and it is harmful to society. Similarly to underage marriages - underage people can't marry (there's lots of other rights they often don't have - gun ownership, voting, driving a car, etc.), and it would be harmful to society if they did. I can't marry my cat because, yada, yada, yada. I also don't have a cat.

As for gay marriages, I have a hard time telling my brain that a gay couple doesn't have the same rights in this reguard as a straight couple. I don't think anyone's been able to make a convincing case that gay marriage is harmful to society or not, or for that matter, if it benefits society in the way a heterosexual marriage does (or is assumed to.) So it comes down to whether the marriage laws are there to provide for or protect a person's rights, or if they're there for the benefit of society as a whole.

Also, before anyone gets back on the slippery slope argument, you should know that it's a logical fallacy.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Morals... Reply with quote

tsuru wrote:
Some times these new morals conflict with morals that have been here in the past. For instance the Jewish moral to not eat pork. Should all of America be forced to go by this new moral? Or what if Southern Baptists who believes women should not preach had their way? Should all of America believe that women should not have any real important position? I believe the resounding answer is no.


It is up to the people, as a whole, to decide what moral values should be translated into law. It is then up to the government to enforce that law. It is not up to the government to start interfering with moral decisions -- that is the domain of the people.

So, how do you resolve conflicts? With voting, of course. Some would call it an imperfect system since not everyone votes. I would call it a pretty darn good system because everyone can vote and those who choose not to should learn to STFU and stop bitching about the consequences.

Of course, our voting system isn't perfect -- witness Dubya getting elected, despite not garnering a majority of the votes. That said, it's better than every single other modern political system that I've ever seen, so while there may be room for improvement, it's got a pretty good structure to begin with.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 8:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Morals... Reply with quote

klieber wrote:

So, how do you resolve conflicts? With voting, of course. Some would call it an imperfect system since not everyone votes. I would call it a pretty darn good system because everyone can vote and those who choose not to should learn to STFU and stop bitching about the consequences.

Of course, our voting system isn't perfect -- witness Dubya getting elected, despite not garnering a majority of the votes. That said, it's better than every single other modern political system that I've ever seen, so while there may be room for improvement, it's got a pretty good structure to begin with.

--kurt


I am in agreement with you kurt. I probably didn't word the statement you quoted as best as it could've been or it was at least lacking further information. I agree that voting is the best fair way to resolve the conflicts that come with moral / ethical differences. But I believe these issues should not always reach the federal level and I'm glad that the gov't was originally designed to give the people the power to create laws at the state / city level to correspond with their values. (and me the power to get the hell out if they don't correspond with mine :)

I definitely agree our voting system is flawed. Which I believe is the result of the spread of disinformation by both parties through the media and the current trend of "one dollar equals one vote" instead of "one person equals one vote"
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rizzo wrote:
I sincerely hope Bush is removed from office in the next election.
I'm very torn on this issue. I don't like Bush, but I think Gore would have been worse. I'd really like to see Gore not get the Dem nomination in the next round.
Quote:
If only this were true. Ahh ... the good ol' Bubba days.
You are joking, right?


Tristam29 wrote:
On a side note, I think it's the government's responsibility to enfore some moral responsibility. Otherwise we woud live in a morally depraved society.
I very much disagree here. klieber's response sums up my opinion fairly well. That then leads back to my previous comment about other people's religions influencing my life.


tsuru wrote:
However you will find that the certain Southern Baptists or Jewish people hold these morals very closely and believe that not following them is wrong and might believe that we should all to hell for not following them. Just as some Christians believe that all who don't believe in Jesus will go to hell.
That is perfectly fine. However, none of their beliefs should be forced upon me. If I'm wrong, I'll go to hell and deal with it. That is my choice. In many cases anyone who simply follows these or similar practices and expects that is going to prevent them from receiving a 1st class ticket to Hell is probably not dealing with a full deck. I'm not aiming to offend anyone, but following 'rules' lockstep is, IMO, not the idea.
tsuru wrote:
The problem is that people with a certain morals don't want others with conflicting sets of morals to not be assimilated. They are afraid that the other moral might 'infect' others.
Because some people lack moral fortitude to follow their beliefs shouldn't hinder my rights to follow my morals. If a person is too weak to follow what they claim to be their beliefs, then I question how genuine their beliefs are.


phong wrote:
Your rights end where your actions interfere with the rights of others.
If everyone agreed to abide by this, I'd probably sleep better.
phong wrote:
In the case of polygamy, in theory, it is illegal because you do not have a right to marry more than one person, and it is harmful to society.
I personally don't think polygamny should be illegal. If everyone 'involved' knows, there should be no issue. As to the issue of support, I think all welfare should be limited. If you have 4 wives and 20 kids, and your welfare entitlement runs dry, tough poopies. If a person marries multiple times, and hides it, that shouldn't be legal.
phong wrote:
I don't think anyone's been able to make a convincing case that gay marriage is harmful to society or not, or for that matter, if it benefits society in the way a heterosexual marriage does (or is assumed to.)
I've not heard any argument against gay marriages that wasn't based on religious beliefs.


klieber wrote:
those who choose not to should learn to STFU and stop bitching about the consequences.
On a local level, voting can make more of a difference. Nationally, that depends. IMO the Electoral College is outdated and not effective. I didn't vote in the Bush/Gore fiasco because my vote wouldn't have mattered. Before anyone wants to argue this point, show me in how many elections the Electoral votes for KS went to a non-republican candidate. Prior to that, I voted for George Sr. Being a resident of Massachussetts, my vote didn't count there either. Same litmus... how many times have MA's votes gone to a non-democratic candidate.
klieber wrote:
witness Dubya getting elected, despite not garnering a majority of the votes.
I have seen no reliable data that suggests Gore won. My problem with the events of the election didn't have much to do with the tallying. In several instances, polling locations were moved causing difficulties for some people to get to a voting location. Odd that these tended to be in areas where the populace was a majority of likely Democratic voters. In some cases, people were refused the right to vote because their name was 'similar' to the names of known felons. Also, Florida had some road blocks set up preventing likely Democratic voters from reaching polling locations. These events are atrocities if they did occur. As for the tallying of votes, Bush only responded with cheap tactics to Gore's cheap tactics. You might think I wanted Bush to win. I didn't. I just didn't want Gore to win either.

You can poke me in the left eye (Gore) or poke me in the right eye (Bush); either way, I'm in pain.


P.S. Cheers to everyone for not turning this into a flame war.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You can poke me in the left eye (Gore) or poke me in the right eye (Bush); either way, I'm in pain.
*applause* :D

I once read somewhere (yes, the infamous "somewhere" that you thought of as reliable but just can't think of) that the re-tallying of the Florida votes done by journalists came up with some rather interesting results. The gist of it was that if they had played by the rules Bush wanted, Gore would have won. If they played by Gore's rules, Bush would have won. Probably the result of tons of conjecture and not readily verifiable, but ohhhh would that be some sweet irony :lol:
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tristam29 wrote:
On a side note, I think it's the government's responsibility to enfore some moral responsibility. Otherwise we woud live in a morally depraved society.
I want to clarify this statement. I was not suggesting that the government should decide the morals that it should enforce. I was merely (albeit in a poorly worded fashion..) trying to say that a law with moral or religious implications should not be struck down because it has moral or religious implications. (i.e. because of separation of church and state..) Lack of a law against some religious practices is basically a law saying that it's alright to do them. For example, if there was no law against murder, it would be like the government was saying (to put it in a religious context..) that Satanistic murder is alright.
kanuslupus wrote:
phong wrote:
Your rights end where your actions interfere with the rights of others.
If everyone agreed to abide by this, I'd probably sleep better.
There are extreme problems with this thought. How do you define 'interfere'? Is it merely physical interference? There's certainly a lot of other ways to interfere. What if my right to pursue happines is interferred with because I am discriminated against for jobs because Employer E only wants to employ people of Type T and I'm a person of type P? Perhaps it's even less simple as that. What if I want to live in a society where I don't have to live in fear of having my children family over-exposed to other relgious beliefs that I disagree with? Shouldn't I, and others like me, be allowed to settle in a community of our choosing without fear that it will be perverted into something else against our will? Here's an example: Should a Jewish town be allowed to outlaw a Nazi parade durring Haunakka (sp?)? There's obviously a lot of pain that's going to be inflicted. Does that not interfere with the rights of the majority of people in the community? What about a gay pride rally in a predominatly Christian town?

Don't get me wrong. I know that shit happens in life and there's no ideal that we're going to be able to achieve. We're all human. However, what's the difference between a gay marriage and someone marrying a cat or a dog? Animals have plenty of rights. Why can't one of them be marriage? I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who get as much comfort from an animal as they might from a human. (Perhaps they believe beastiality is a perfectly fine practice.) Personally, that would be horrific and disgusting to me.

I believe that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong. Trying to free society from homosexuality is like trying to free it from smoking. Feel free to interchange the two words in the following: Smoking is a horrible thing that I believe children should be cautioned against when young. Smoking is in large part a mental problem that develops into a mental dependancy, but there are also physical symptoms of withdrawal that would lead a person back to it. Smoking is harmful to the people around it because it exposes them to a bad life choice. Please don't take any of this as a personal attack. I've met and liked a good number of smokers. That has no bearing on whether or not I want to be there for their smoking.

I'm free to believe these things just as someone is free to believe the exact opposite, but either way one is being forced on the other. Open state regulated gay marriage has to either exist or not. If it does then everything in the above paragraph bothers me. If it doesn't then gay and lesbian men and women will have to live in secret or abandon their lifestyle. Either way someone's rights are impeded upon. This is why we have to vote to come to a compromise. Once it's a law we will expect the government to carry it out. If we want to change it then we should move to do so, but we should not pretend that there's some post-modernistic heaven where everything will balance out and everyone will be able to live without affecting the rights of anyone else. Therefore, we should not try to construct laws to achieve this end.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smoking is harmful to the people around it because it exposes them to a bad life choice. Please don't take any of this as a personal attack. I've met and liked a good number of smokers. That has no bearing on whether or not I want to be there for their smoking.[/quote]

Okay if the 'gay problem' is like 'smoking problem' then lets turn the smokers/smoking into a variable $PeopleActions and then substitute gay people/gay activity in for $PeopleActions:

"I've met and like a good number of gay people. That has no bearing on whether or not I want to be there for their gay activity."

I couldn't agree more... but never ever have I see gay activity being performed in public (and by gay activity I mean the sexual stuff). I don't really count gay kissing as 'gay activity' cause even though I'm heterosexual I feel uncomfortable when other heteros are kissing... well at least if they are doing it obviously etc. exhibitionistic. I'm sure that feeling would be the same if gays were kissing. One of the points I tried to make earlier is that with all the different cultures in this country and value systems people are going to be offended / uncomfortable at some point. That is a part of life. Just because you are uncomfortable doesn't give you the right to force others to stop. Especially if what you are uncomfortable with is something that is happening in the privacy of their home.
What if 'smoking' had no ill health effects on others... essentially 'smokers' would just be people walking around with lollypop sticks hanging out of their mouths... Would you have the right to stop them from having a white stick hanging out of their mouth? With enough people you could pass a law sure... but would it really hold up to constitutional muster? I doubt it. Alcoholism can be a terribly addictive thing just like smoking for some people. And ultra conservatives got the government to ban alcohol, as a constitutional amendment even! After much protest and Al Capone, that law was finally repealed. In it's place there are laws against what happens if you start risking others rights for your leisure, like Drunken driving. Now does being around a gay person destroy the air you breathe or have the possibility of causing bodily harm? No it doesn't. It doesn't infringe on your rights... it infringes on your values. Only goverments can bestow rights beyond natural ones.

Quote:

I'm free to believe these things just as someone is free to believe the exact opposite, but either way one is being forced on the other.


No neither is being forced on the other as long as it is beliefs. However if you make a law then the lawmaker is forcing the other to act like they believe you. Just cause it is allowed doesn't mean you have to believe in it. Just look at the Ahmish...we've been industrialized for a long time...many people use technology yet they decide not to... do we put them in jail or fine them for it... No.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laws should not be moral or religious in nature. When they turn moral or religious, they are not laws anymore, but opinions put into system.

A law should be fair and consider people equal, no matter their sexual or religious belief.

In my personal opinion, religion and "moral" is the 2 things that have caused most pain and problems for people.

Just look back at the inquisition in Europe and to the "moral"-right in the US.

The most funny (or stupid) thing here in the US is the 7 words you can not say on TV or Radio, plus the blurr of breasts or genitalies on TV. I watched the History channel yesterday and they showed dead people in autopsy and they showed the shooting and killings in Greensboro many yeards ago in color. THAT is OK! But a nude person is not? What si the logic behind that?
Is it more accepted to kill a person than to be nude or to make love?
In my opinion, making love is normal, killing people is not!

It's all fucked up!

Erik
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
consider people equal, no matter their sexual or religious belief


And there you've hit upon the crux of the problem. That's a moral :)

Trying to completely remove any sort of morality from the government is just as dangerous as infusing it with all sorts of cultural and social regulation. The idea, I suppose, should be to find a comfortable balance -- which is of course the golden question.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
klieber wrote:
witness Dubya getting elected, despite not garnering a majority of the votes.
I have seen no reliable data that suggests Gore won.

I think it's commonly accepted that Gore received the majority of the popular vote -- that's what I was referring to. In terms of the Florida debacle which determined the outcome of the electoral vote, that's an entirely different matter.

ebrostig wrote:
Laws should not be moral or religious in nature. When they turn moral or religious, they are not laws anymore, but opinions put into system.

Why is it illegal to steal from another person? Why is it illegal to kill another person? Why is it illegal to purchase or use certain narcotics?

All of those are moral considerations that we, as a society, decided should be made illegal. Laws are absolutely derived from morals.

Tristam29 wrote:
I was merely (albeit in a poorly worded fashion..) trying to say that a law with moral or religious implications should not be struck down because it has moral or religious implications.

How do you reconcile this idea with the Constitutionally-guaranteed right for everyone to practice their own religion? IOW, if you decide to make a law that is based on religious principles, doesn't that directly conflict with the idea that we can all have Freedom of Religion?

I think prayer in classroom is a great example -- lots of people want that to be allowed by law. However, lots of other people don't practice Christianity. Since children are forced (by law) to go to school, how can you force them (by law) to sit through a prayer that may directly conflict with their particular religious mojo?

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber wrote:
All of those are moral considerations that we, as a society, decided should be made illegal. Laws are absolutely derived from morals.

I agree whole-heartedly.

klieber wrote:
Tristam29 wrote:
I was merely (albeit in a poorly worded fashion..) trying to say that a law with moral or religious implications should not be struck down because it has moral or religious implications.

How do you reconcile this idea with the Constitutionally-guaranteed right for everyone to practice their own religion? IOW, if you decide to make a law that is based on religious principles, doesn't that directly conflict with the idea that we can all have Freedom of Religion?

I think prayer in classroom is a great example -- lots of people want that to be allowed by law. However, lots of other people don't practice Christianity. Since children are forced (by law) to go to school, how can you force them (by law) to sit through a prayer that may directly conflict with their particular religious mojo?

--kurt

Ok, Let's say that I'm a member of a small but strict new religioin whose only major precept is to murder small children on sight. This is obviously not a religion that will be allowed under the freedom of religion clause. I submit that if freedom of religion is to be taken seriously it must be a violation of a person's rights to do whatever they want because there's no strict legal definiton of 'religion'. There's only the, IMHO flawed, concept that you can believe or do whatever you want as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. I would say that if Islamic children are being subject to a religion/philosophy against thier will in the school prayer issue, then my children would be under exactly the same type of duress if they went to a public park where a pair of lesbians are publicly displaying their affection for one another. There are possibly other parks they could go to, but maybe I would have to pay extra money or drive out of my way to get them there. Same with schools. There are private schools but they cost money, etc.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any individual is free to express his religion in parks and other public places... it is only the government that cannot institute such displays or expressions. This is a clear distinction. Your example of lesbians kissing in a park is equivalent to someone wearing a crucifix or expounding the virtues of Christ in a park - both of which are fine and do not impinge on separation of church and state.
Tristam29 wrote:
...I would say that if Islamic children are being subject to a religion/philosophy against thier will in the school prayer issue, then my children would be under exactly the same type of duress if they went to a public park where a pair of lesbians are publicly displaying their affection for one another. There are possibly other parks they could go to, but maybe I would have to pay extra money or drive out of my way to get them there. Same with schools. There are private schools but they cost money, etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2002 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with not allowing moral decisions into the making of laws is that a law is by definition an imposed moral. Obviously not everyone will agree with a given law because people operate in diverse moral frameworks, but a law is absolutely something that the majority of voters have agreed is a moral norm that they want enforced in the society.

If we take the relativist position and claim that right and wrong are relative, then there is no justification for any law at all, since a law forces an individual to conform to the morals of others (the majority). Relativism is moral anarchy and if it was the dominant philosophical framework for government we would descend into literal anarchy as well.

The only conclusion is that regardless of what your opinion on the whole absolutist/relativist debate is, and regardless of where you think moral norms come from (majority rule, your favorite deity, natural law), moral norms are necessary for a safe and secure society.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2002 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The argument that allowing homosexuals to marry demeans and devalues heterosexual marriage strikes me as somewhat similar to an argument that the existence of believers of other religions somehow demeans and devalues one's own religious beliefs.

I would like to draw a distinction here between the civil contract of marriage, which is a legal question, and the religious recognition of the institution. I have no desire to argue that churches must perform or recognize homosexual marriages.

As much as the notion of opposition to interracial marriage offends me personally, I would not even wish to deny a religion the ability to refuse to recognize such marriages.

But when it comes to the legal contract of marriage in civil society, I agree with the Loving decision in 1967 that struck down Virginia's interracial marriage ban, and I believe many of the same arguments used by Southern segregationists are mirrored in actions such as the Defense of Marriage Act. The analogy is not perfect, but I believe the similarities are more pronounced and valid than the differences.

Marriage is a contract that provides several benefits to society. It raises the likelihood that children will be raised in a stable environment. It ensures that sacrifices that are made on behalf of a partnership by a participant will not go unrewarded if the marriage is dissolved. It conveys assumption of inheritance when one partner dies intestate. It provides taxation benefits, often health-care benefits that cannot be realized unless partners are married. It allows for visitation and delegation of responsibility in case of incapacitance without an explicit power of attorney. It provides for continuity of child custody without adoption proceedings if a spouse should die.

I feel it is unfair to deny outright these benefits to homosexual citizens, regardless of where on the continuum of nature/nurture one believes sexual preference to be. I have an American friend who put off getting married legally and publicly for several years after she committed privately to her male partner, even enduring the wrath of her parents, because, in her words:
Quote:
It seemed/seems unfair to take advantage of a privilege that is unjustly denied to a significant portion of the population. I wouldn't belong to a club that did not permit black or Jewish members, and marriage is a club that doesn't permit gay members. The analogy doesn't work perfectly, but that's the basic idea.

One final observation I would like to make is that I feel that those who decry homosexuality as immoral often focus on the aspect of perceived promiscuity (this perception is more common, in my experience, with regard to male homosexuality than female). Why then, if a homosexual couple wishes to enter into an exclusive arrangement, eschewing promiscuity, does it make sense to put roadblocks in the way of this? I don't understand why advocates of traditional families don't take the point of view that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2002 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At first when I clicked on this forum I was curious, then I read a little and began to wonder if I was going to end up being frustrated/disgusted with the opinions being offered, and after having read all of the posts I find the rhetorical level, and the argumentation being used quite refreshing.

Tristam,

you have the right to your opinion, I needn´t say this, but I support your right to your opinion, even though I could not disagree more with you. It is unfortunate that you feel the need to demonize, belittle and degrade homosexuals. It is even more unfortunate that you have not gotten to know homosexuals personally and allowed yourself to open up and invite their differences. Your lack of personal experience, where you accepted homosexuals as persons, equal before god, is what speaks in that which you have posted. Unfortuately many feel the need to have an opinion about that which they refuse to confront/encounter in the spirit of understanding and acceptance which behooves all those who claim to be christian. Making the comparison between gay marriages and inter-species marriages is, although probably unintended, basically an example of someone presupposing to be able to stand judge over that which is human. When one adopts such a stance in their rhetoric, one is not merely expressing an opinion, one is exercising ontological violence, for one is thereby engaged in transgressing the unseen boudaries of human dignity. You could not say what you just said standing before a group of homosexuals, looking them in the eye, one on one, as living breathing feeling thinking human beings.
But this is due to experience, and I hope your religous convictions do not prevent you from confronting your unfounded beliefs, No religion, true to its foundation, can cast ultimate judgement, over gods creation.


I say this as a non-chrsitan, I personally have no concept of god, nor do I desire such, however I recognize the limits of human decisions, and that which lies in human hands alone.

"And so they parted ways , the old holy-man and the man,laughing, like two boys laugh. However once alone Zarathustra said unto himself, "that it should be possible ! This old holy-man living in his forest has not yet heard, that God is dead".....
And thus spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
(my translation)
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