Friday, April 16, 2010

Freedom of Speech Vs. Freedom of Religion/right to peaceful assembly/right to privacy

I am at a loss when I read the articles about the father of the Marine who was killed overseas who is batteling the Westboro Baptist Church in the legal system. I am glad that this issue has finally made it up to the highest courts, but I am afraid that the wrong decision will be made.

I don't trust our current judicial system. It seems as though the rights of the minority are usually protected either over the rights of the majority or at a loss of rights to the majority. This is not equality. This is not equal protection under the law.

I don't understand how the appeals court could say that the Church's right to free speech trumps the family's freedom to engage in a religious ceremony (most funerals are fundementally religious ceremonies). Doesn't the right to free speech already have certain limitations?  For instance, if you say you have a bomb on an airplane, you are going to jail. Bottom line. Also, if someone were to run into a Mosque or a Synagogue during a religious ceremony and yell slanderous things about the respective religion, that person would go to jail for a hate crime, or disturbing the peace, or something.

Nobody is trying to take away the Westboro Baptist's Church's right to say whatever they want about Soldiers, Homosexuality, or whoever else they feel like offending. However, they should not be able to say things in a setting that disrupts another groups constitutional rights, for instance, during religious ceremonies.

I am usually a strict defender of constitutional rights, especially free speech. My favorite quote is from Voltaire "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it".  I still agree with that. I will defend that church's right to say whatever hateful slanderous things they want. But I will also defend the fallen Marine's family's right to have their religious ceremony, have a peaceful assembly, and their right to privacy.

I should caveat this, I have a close friend who I lost to combat in Iraq. The protestors were at the funeral, but the Freedom Riders came with their flags and did an excellent job of blocking them, so the ceremony was not really disrupted. However, seeing those people with their signs saying such horrible things about my friends and other Americans whom we fight to defend was extrememly painful. I couldn't even imagine how much extra distress that would cause the family.

So take that for what you will, I might be a little biased. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vatican Blames Catholic Priest Scandal on Homosexuality

The Vatican has determined why so many priests and bishops abuse children.  It is not due to the fact that the Catholic Church holds its priests to an outdated and unnecessary standard. Nor is it due to the fact that the strict religous views of the Church often turn natural behaviors into sins. No, it is the gays' fault.

That is right. The Vatican has officially blamed the entire child abuse scandal on homosexuality. Homosexuality is a sin, all homosexuals are also child molesters, it is a sickness, and that is why their poor priests and bishops abuse children.

I hope anyone reading this is also scratching their head and saying "huh?"  This makes absolutely no sense at all. Homosexuality is a naturally occuring condition. It has been documented in the wild. It was considered the norm in many ancient cultures. And per every 100, there is not a greater rate of homosexual child molesters than hetersexual ones.

The Vatican is just joining the "not me" culture and trying to blame somebody else for their problems. Maybe if they lifted the outdated ban on marriage for clergy members, people who have those types of tendancies wouldn't be as eager to join. Or, maybe if they realized that homosexuality is natural and not a sin, those within the faith who are homossexual wouldn't feel like they were outcasts, and wouldn't try to hide themselves behind the priesthood.

Although I don't think the Church will have that kind of foresight anytime soon, I always hope that the day will someday come. In the meantime, I would really like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Celeb Media frenzy

Is it just me, or is it kind of silly that all we see on the news channels revolves around celebrity gossip? 

I don't understand why, when a pro golfer decided to cheat on his wife, we had to hear about it on the news...every day. For two months! I also don't understand why, at the begining of this year, a magazine (not sure which one...People maybe) put out an issue which listed the biggest scandals of the decade - and all of the cover photagraphs (except one) were of celebrities. One political scandal did hit the cover, and that was one of the congressmen who cheated on his wife.

I can think of many more scandals that happened during this past decade that were of much more social, economic, and political importance than what Britney Spears or Tiger Woods did last week. What about the IL governor trying to sell Obama's Senate Seat?  What about the scandal at Abu Ghraib and the resulting cover up?  What about the CIA agent who got her cover blown?  And for a society so worried about who is having sex with whom, what about the DC Madame, and her resulting suicide? 

Apparently, imporant scandals like these aren't interesting enough to grace the cover of a national magazine. Americans won't buy it unless it involves celebrity sex scandals. Let the dumbing down of America continue!