Thursday, December 11, 2008

SERIOUSLY???

Apparently frustrated, disenfranchised gays who exercise their constitutional right to free speech are jihadists. Thanks, Pat Boone.

Mr. Boone, here's a more striking resemblance: You religious zealots who demonize a segment of the population, tax them disproportionately, deny them basic civil familial rights, and codify your beliefs into state-sanctioned religion are for all intents and purposes fascists. It's baffling to me how Christ's basic teachings about the way we should treat one another have disappeared from your so-called "Christianity." Perhaps we're only supposed to love our neighbors if they go to the same church as we do.

I was going to draw parallels between the current "righteous indignation" of the religious right in this country and the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition, but that would be every bit as unfair as Mr. Boone's analogy. Instead, here is his article from WorldNetDaily:

Hate is hate, in India or America


Posted: December 06, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

Pretty rotten thing that happened in Mumbai, huh?

Grand old hotel, in an increasingly progressive and prosperous India: Suddenly, hundreds of innocent, unsuspecting people are hostages, some of them being systematically murdered. Bombs are exploding, people are screaming, military are descending into the chaos, TV crews are coming from everywhere to broadcast the carnage worldwide.

When the dust begins to settle after many horrifying hours, the body count has reached nearly 200, and many more are injured and emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. The perpetrators? Though no demands were made, and no group immediately took credit for the insane attack, all evidence points to Islamic terrorists, likely from Pakistan.

And why? Well, if current theories and intel are correct, this slaughter was planned and executed by one of many Islamic groups that feel directed by their religion to subjugate – or exterminate – "infidels" like Hindus, Jews, Christians and even other Muslims who don't hew to their extremist views. To them, there is only one acceptable worldview – a theology they intend to enforce on all humankind – and anyone who might disagree or obstruct their goals should be removed, violently if need be.

Thank God, it couldn't happen here. Could it?

Look around. Watch your evening news. Read your newspaper.

Are you unaware of the raging demonstrations in our streets, in front of our churches and synagogues, even spilling into these places of worship, and many of these riots turning defamatory and violent? Have you not seen the angry distorted faces of the rioters, seen their derogatory and threatening placards and signs, heard their vows to overturn the democratically expressed views of voters, no matter what it costs, no matter what was expressed at the polls? Twice?

I refer to California's Proposition 8. You haven't heard about the well-oiled campaign to find out the names of every voter and business that contributed as much as $1,000, or even much less, in support of Prop 8? You haven't heard about the announced plans to boycott, demonstrate, intimidate and threaten each one – because they dared to vote to retain marriage as between one man and one woman? You haven't seen, on the evening news, prominent entertainers and even California Gov. Schwarzenegger, urging the demonstrators on, telling them they should "never give up" until they get their way?

Assuming you have become aware of all this, let me ask you: Have you not seen the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai and what's happening right now in our cities?

Oh, I know the homosexual "rights" demonstrations haven't reached the same level of violence, but I'm referring to the anger, the vehemence, the total disregard for law and order and the supposed rights of their fellow citizens. I'm referring to the intolerance, the hate seething in the words, faces and actions of those who didn't get their way in a democratic election, and who proclaim loudly that they will get their way, no matter what the electorate wants!

Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And hate, unbridled, will eventually and inevitably boil into violence. How crazily ironic that the homosexual activists and sympathizers cry for "tolerance" and "equal rights" and understanding –while they spew vitriol and threats and hate at those who disagree with them on moral and societal grounds.

I was saddened to hear that the estimable Brad Pitt, who has done a lot for the displaced people in New Orleans, pledged $100,000 to his friend Ellen DeGeneris for some campaign to overturn Prop 8, saying something about constitutionally guaranteed "equal rights." I'd like to know – on just what constitutional writ does Brad base this statement?

Every homosexual citizen has the same, identical rights as any other American. The Constitution says nothing about marriage, and shouldn't. Marriage is not a governmental creation; it is a time honored and biblically ordained institution that is subject not to the government but to the will of the people. And the people, down through the centuries, have spoken. Not just the Bible, but Webster's Dictionary, defines this covenantal relationship called "marriage" as a commitment between one man and one woman.

Because this elemental building block of society has been so defined and respected throughout history, elected representatives in our self-government have granted certain supports and tax relief and privileges to marriages and families. Again, these privileges did not originate with some benevolent higher authority – they originated with the people, through the democratic process.

That's how a free republic works. Our people consecrated our Constitution and determined to live within its provisions, voluntarily. It was determined that the will of the voting majority would rule, though it was subject to change if the majority will changed.

There never were any "rights" granted or designated to those who dissented with the will of the majority, other than the same rights all citizens have to work through the democratic process to accomplish their purposes. No "rights" were ever granted to citizens on the basis of their sexual habits or lifestyle. There simply are no such "rights."

Slavery was abolished, blacks and women obtained the rights to vote, and these true rights were not obtained by threats and violent demonstrations and civil disruption (though these things did occur, of course), but by due process, congressional deliberations and appropriate ratification. This was democracy in action, not mob rule. As noted journalist Thomas Sowell has said, there never was "a right to win." In America, at least the America we've known till now, rights are earned and won in a deliberative, legal way – at the polls.

What troubles me so deeply, and should trouble all thinking Americans, is that there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists. Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And by its very nature, if it's not held in check, it will escalate into acts vile, violent and destructive.


Mr. Boone's analogies are every bit as inappropriate and offensive as the argument that compare homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. It occurs to me that just like pedophile population is disproportionately heterosexual, the violent acts of intolerance are disproportionately perpetrated by deeply religious people.

Having stripped same-sex couples of marriage rights in California and barred them from any legal recognition in most states, prohibiting adoption and tax benefits, denying guarantees of spousal insurance benefits from employers, and a host of other legal rights automatically bestowed by the government (not a religious institution) upon straight couples who marry (regardless of whether they do it in a church or before a judge), are you honestly suggesting that the first amendment should not apply to gays either?

How dare you? As offensive as your statements are, I would never curtail your first amendment right to make a public asshole of yourself. So keep talking. Twenty years from now, same sex marriage will be legal, the debate will be moot in the minds of rational Americans, and you'll be dead. And when I think back about Pat Boone's legacy, I won't be thinking about those fantastic songs you sang in State Fair. I'll be thinking about this. My grandmother used to tell me how much she liked Bob Hope until he started telling raunchy jokes later in life. And when I'm seventy, sitting in my rocking chair, reminiscing with my grandchildren...I'll probably tell them how talented Pat Boone was until he started making offensive comments about gays. And then we'll all watch State Fair and shake our heads disapprovingly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A letter to President Monson

This is a letter I sent the day I wrote my letter removing my name from LDS Church records. No apologies...no edits...it is what it is.

November 12, 2008

President Thomas S. Monson
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

Dear President Monson,

I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Brandon Suisse. You might remember my family name from a small branch of the church in Sarnia, Canada during your service there as a mission president. Growing up, I used to love to hear my grandmother speak of the special place you occupy in her heart, both for your service as a mission president and as a general authority. Time and time again, my grandmother spoke of you with deepest reverence and love: cherished traits I learned in large part from her. It is in that spirit of reverence that I write to you today about a matter that I am certain has weighed heavily in the minds and hearts of the brethren – a conflict which, after much heartache and anguish, led me to withdraw from the fellowship of the saints.

In light of recent events, I formally withdrew my name from the records of the Church today, offering up my sincere hope that the Church will find a solution that heals the rift between the children of God suffering on both sides of this conflict. Please know that I bear no animosity or ill will toward the Church or its members. On the contrary, I owe a debt of gratitude for the influence of the Church's teachings and programs in my early development and my relationship with my family.

It will come as no surprise that my decision to withdraw from the Church is based primarily in the church's strained relationship with our gay brothers and sisters. Understanding the position of the Church on the importance family relationships, it breaks my heart that an organization which is responsible for so much good in the world would actively seek to destabilize the family units that our gay brothers and sisters and their children so desperately crave. With all the challenges families of all kinds face, the stabilizing effects of marriage, complete with its legal and social implications as well as its solemn responsibilities, are vital to every family’s well-being. While I am not na├»ve enough to expect the church to change its stance on homosexuality, I would hope that in the future, for the sake of gay families everywhere, the Church will temper its zeal with compassion and restraint, confining its opposition within the walls of the meetinghouse and keeping it out of the legislative process. That said, I respect your rights to believe and teach as you will regarding homosexuality, and if you truly believe homosexual unions are contrary to God's plan for his children, I will always defend your right to limit the marriages you perform accordingly. It is my sincere hope that one day you will extend the same privilege to the gay community, letting them enter into the institution of civil marriage according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Marriage is a sacred institution, sanctified not only in the churches, but also in the daily lives of its participants. By excluding our gay brothers and sisters from its benefits and responsibilities, I believe that we are and teaching our children that this segment of the population is comprised of souls of lesser worth in the sight of God—His children who are somehow undeserving of His fullest blessings because of how He created them. This does nothing to strengthen the institution of marriage. On the contrary, I fear it will cheapen marriage in the eyes of our children and their children. It does not serve the Church or society to devalue marriage by making it an exclusionist institution. Rather, extending the responsibilities of the marriage vows to the gay community will not only help to stabilize the gay community's familial relationships, but it will also shore up the institution of marriage for future generations who will likely be reluctant to participate in an institution tainted with bias against their gay brothers and sisters.

Please forgive me if anything I have said has carried any tone of disrespect. I am convinced that even perceived disrespect on either side of an issue blocks the avenues of communication, and nothing could be further from the sincerest desires of my heart, especially in this delicate and important matter. If anything I have said has caused offense, please forgive my shortcomings in writing today. Moreover, please accept my deepest gratitude for taking the time to hear me out.

May God bless you for the immeasurable good you have done, and the good you surely will continue to do, in the world. And may God grant us all the patience and respect and insight to deal positively with our differences on this important issue in a way that protects and strengthens all families, gay and straight.


Respectfully

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Three Reasonable Guesses

No, this isn't where I post three reasonable guesses why someone is ignoring me. I'm gonna attempt to discuss the "If you really cared, you would know why I'm mad at you" mentality. Before I begin I need to say that this post is not intended to belittle anyone's pain. Pain exists. And despite our best efforts, every one of us causes pain. Both in ourselves and in others. The important thing is to avoid causing pain if possible and, when we inevitably do hurt someone or get hurt ourselves, to find the best way to heal.

Yesterday I was asked to make three reasonable guesses what I did to make a close friend ignore my calls. I responded with "Is it because I didn't tell you about the third nipple?" This elicited a laugh, but did nothing to start an open discussion about whatever is bothering my friend.

I hate it when I hurt people. Anybody who knows me knows that I would never intentionally hurt anyone...which it all the more unbearable when someone holds onto unintentional hurt I've caused. My feeling is that when I've hurt someone, regardless of whether it was intentional, it's my responsibility to do what I can to make it better. On the other hand when I'm hurting, if I truly want to resolve the hurt, it's my responsibility to be open and face the cause of the pain. If two people can't discuss the hurt between them openly, they have little hope of resolving it.

I guess the point is, I'm a little frustrated that instead of acknowledging a specific thing I've done that caused pain and dealing with it, this friend expects me to "search my soul" for every possible slight and list the top three. This exercise isn't designed to address and fix the individual's pain, it seems designed simply to humiliates me. Rather than resolving a problem, we're just causing more pain and spreading it around.

When you go to a doctor, he or she always asks you what's wrong. "Tell me where it hurts." If we respond with "If you were any kind of a doctor, you'd know already" or "I won't tell you until you've made three reasonable guesses" most ailments would never be adequately addressed. Of course, this analogy comes up short because doctors usually aren't the ones who caused the ailment. Still, if we expect to have any productive discourse about the problem, it is the patient's responsibility to be forthright. And in the case of two people who care about each other, expecting the other person to make a list of all the ways they could have possibly hurt you is nothing short of vindictive. The ONLY outcome of such a list is more hurt.

Emotional pain is deeply personal. It's also inevitable. Bouncing around this crowded little planet, it's impossible to avoid stepping on each other's toes. What makes coexistence possible is that we try not to do it intentionally, and when we inevitably do hurt each other, we should do everything possible to resolve it. As far as I can tell, the path to healing is as personal as the pain. If we're lucky, we have good friends (surprisingly often the ones who hurt us in the first place) who love us and want to help us heal. But the choice to begin the healing process (and the choice to allow those who caused the hurt to participate in the healing) belongs solely to the person who is hurting.

Sadly, to protect ourselves from additional hurt, it's easier to shut people out. And seeing those who have hurt us pay for their crime is supremely gratifying. But in every-day interactions between people who have an interest in each other's well-being, both courses are ultimately counterproductive. Neither addresses the hurt, and both exclude the "guilty" party from participation in the healing.

So, I hope it makes sense that I choose not to make three reasonable guesses. In my mind there is no such thing. When I choose to respond with a smartass remark instead a "reasonable guess", it's because that is the only response that makes sense to me. So if you want more smartass remarks, I've got a whole bag of 'em. But if you want to work through the pain...tell me where it hurts.