Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Great Marriage Debate

With all the talk about "marriage equality" and "defending traditional marriage" and "gay marriage" and all that stuff, I figured it was time for me to think the questions through and try to come up with a reasonable solution. Of course, what I've come up with is so simple and makes so much sense that it will most likely never even be considered by anyone else...

Let me preface this with some very basic information about me.

Spiritually, I am a Christian - my beliefs would probably fall under a category I'll call "semi-liberal protestant."  With this said, however, do not make the assumption that anyone else who claims the title of Christian speaks for me. Specifically, neither the pope, nor the Roman church speak for me. Neither do Fred Phelps and his ilk. Neither does anyone who wishes to establish a Christian theocracy who isn't Jesus Himself.  In fact, I specifically and vehemently reject most of what those people teach.  My over-riding belief can be summarized in one verse from the new testament: "love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind .. and love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-40).  Specifically, I do not believe that Christianity is about giving up vices or practicing rituals - it's about loving God and loving people.  And it certainly is not about hating people who aren't like me.  "Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love" (I Corinthians 13:13). See that?  Love is even greater than faith itself!  Chew on that for a while...

Politically, I am a libertarian. What this means, basically, is that as long as I'm not hurting you, leave me the hell alone. I will leave you alone, and the government should leave us both alone.  While I see the need for some laws and government, I believe that these should be limited to what is minimally necessary to ensure everyone's rights are secure.  I really like the part of the US declaration of independence that says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed .. "  Government, therefore, is not intended to solve all of society's problems. Rather, it is to secure our God-given rights through liberty and rule of law.

What does all this mean in the context of the marriage question, then?

The fundamentalist wants to "defend marriage" through legislation enforced by the state. The liberal wants "marriage equality" enshrined in law and enforced by the state.  Basically, both sides want their religious views (or lack thereof) to become the law of the land and to be forced on people who don't hold to them.  Both sides, therefore, have it wrong.  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof .." (US Constitution, Amendment 1)

You see, at its core, marriage is a religious institution.  Therefore, the government is not allowed to define what it means for anyone.  What I am proposing here is simple religious freedom.  Rather than pick and choose who's marriage is legitimate and who's isn't in the eyes of the state, I suggest that the state shouldn't be in the marriage business at all. Rather, let each person define what it means and practice their own religion without government sanction or interference.  If a couple desires to give legal force to their marriage vows, let them negotiate, draft, and sign a contract enforceable under contract law.

This way, the government wouldn't be compelling anyone to violate their religious sensibilities by forcing them to recognize a marriage they see as invalid, and, conversely, anyone could marry whoever they want without the government saying they can't because of someone else's beliefs.  We would all simply be free to live our lives the way we see fit.  The only people who are going to be upset about that are those misguided "Christians" and other "believers" who want to force their beliefs on everyone else .. and as a Christian, I'm completely ok with pissing those people off as much as possible.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recent Events: Mass-Murder in Aurora, CO

Whenever I hear about horrifying events like this, I experience a fairly wide range of emotions .. heartbreak for the victims and their families, rage towards the perpetrators, the desire for justice, the thought and hope that if I am ever faced with a similar situation, I'll be able to make a positive difference in the outcome, and, more often than not, a sense of dread at how the government's seemingly inevitable attempt to prevent future occurrences will affect my personal freedom and that of my children.
My candle for the good
folks of Aurora, CO

While most of these are beyond my capacity to address in a way that is meaningful to anyone, the one thing I can do is to take certain steps to ensure that my family and I do not become helpless victims to some nut-bag like this in the future. Hopefully I can encourage others to do so as well.

So, what can we, as individuals, do to prevent things like this from happening again?  The answer is surprisingly simple:  arm ourselves.  That's right .. instead of clamoring for more restrictions on your right to keep and bear arms, exercise it. Learn how to handle and use a gun. Get a concealed carry license, and carry your gun wherever and whenever you can. Learn basic self-defense skills that don't rely on the use of firearms, too.  Learn and prepare for the day you hope will never come, and be willing and ready to act if it does. Teach your children these things, too. Learn, learn, learn! Your self-defense bag-of-tricks should be very large and very full.
My gun makes you safer - if I'm
allowed to carry it

Admittedly, there are a lot of people who will not see my logic. There are people who think that allowing people to carry concealed weapons is just asking for trouble.  There are people who think that disarming society in general would be a better solution.  I would ask those people a few simple questions:  If you were there, wouldn't you wish you had your own gun and the skills to use it?  How might the situation have turned out differently if just one of the other movie-goers that night had a gun?  How many of those victims would still be alive?

You see, guns are not the problem here. If they were, one would expect to see mass shootings happening where there are more guns - at gun shows and NRA conventions, for example. Can you imagine, just for one second, what would happen if this guy had shown up at a gun show and started shooting?  I can .. and I bet you he wouldn't have even gotten one shot off before being stopped cold in his tracks and nominated for a Darwin award!  No, instead, most of these massacres happen in places where it is already illegal for anyone to possess a gun: schools, workplaces, hospitals, et cetera.

I posit that the real reason these things happen is that there are few people left in society who are willing to take responsibility for their own protection, and too many laws restricting those remaining few.

... Efpophis

Hi, and welcome to my blog. I've been kicking around the idea of starting a blog for some time now, and today I've finally taken the proverbial plunge.  I figured the first post should serve as an introduction and provide a little background information about what you're likely to see and experience here should you decide to stick around.  Therefore, here are a few things about me in no particular order:

I'm a father of three girls. I live with my second wife and our young daughter near Detroit. My older girls live with their mom in the same general metropolitan area.  The details of that story are fairly complicated. I may cover them in another post later on if I feel so inclined.

I am a software engineer by trade, and have been doing that since 1997 - let the reader do the math. I have also been known to do software development work for fun in my spare time, recently on the Android platform. Some folks may recognize me as the guy who fixed in-call audio on the Samsung Fascinate - probably my largest source of "nerd cred," if I have any at all.  I tend to specialize in low-level embedded device drivers, but I feel like I can handle most software and computer-related tasks with relative ease .. and if I don't know something, well, that's what Google is for.

Other interests include martial arts, guns, amateur radio, politics, theology, salt water fish, science fiction, and whatever else happens to tickle my fancy.  I have, at times, seen the need to scale back on some of my hobbies and interests due to temporal and financial constraints .. so even though I don't have a salt water fish tank right now, I will still claim interest in the hobby and knowledge on the subject.

My blog is going to be moderated, and I did this because it's all but guaranteed that I will express a view that will start an argument. You are welcome to express your opposing view points, and I will publish them as long as you make a good case for them.  I'll probably follow some kind of standard debate rule, so the threads will look like this:  initial post -> opposing view -> my first rebuttal -> your rebuttal -> my last word.  Yes, I will have the last word. It's my blog, after all.