Dangerous times

This country was founded on the principles of acceptance, tolerance, and religious freedom by people who left their old countries to find the freedom to worship as they please and escape a state-imposed religion. Now we have a group that’s trying to turn this country into exactly what it was meant to escape from.

I don’t care what anyone believes. We’re all free to follow any religion we want and live our lives according to our own religious and moral beliefs. However, no group has the right to impose their religion and morality on others who don’t share their beliefs. Haven’t we learned that it isn’t possible to legislate morality? It’s been attempted before and failed (remember prohibition?). Accept the fact that we’re human. Don’t preach abstinence – it’s just not realistic. Meanwhile, with abstinence-only education, teens are still getting pregnant and getting infected with STDs. Anyone who thinks it works needs to get back in touch with reality.

With the senate now debating whether to enshrine discrimination into the constitution, we’re at a very dangerous crossroad. The social conservatives are trying to frame it as “protecting against the attempt to redefine marriage”, which is just plain crap. It’s no such thing – marriage is defined by religious groups. We’re not forcing them to change or accept something they don’t want to accept. The word ‘marriage’ has always had two meanings: the religious meaning, which the government shouldn’t meddle with; and civil marriage, which is a contract between two people which gives them many special rights related to financial matters, medical care, and many other aspects. These rights should be available equally to everyone.

Furthermore, the religious meaning of marriage has changed drastically throughout history. In many societies bigamy has been accepted and encouraged, including the Mormons, who are now among those most strongly opposed to gay marriage. A lot of societies still have arranged marriages, in many cases to establish or strengthen business relationships between families.

The US Constitution is one of our most important documents, spelling out what rights and freedoms we have. The Constitution helped make the U.S. into a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. Other than prohibition, which was repealed, it has always been used to guarantee rights, never to deny rights to any group of people. Adding a discriminatory definition of marriage to the constitution is one of the most disgusting abuses ever of our most important document. It also violates the principle of separation of church and state, since not all religious groups agree with the proposed definition.

We’re reaching a very dangerous point where the government no longer represents all of the people, only one select group. Also in the news, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is trying to determine how the vote can be delayed in case of a terrorist attack. It looks like the current administration will do everything they can to stay in power, whether or not they can win an honest election. They no longer care about the people, only about staying in power at any cost.

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