Thursday, May 07, 2015

I dunno

Past few weeks have been one of the "world's gone crazy" situations for me.

The latest thing is the (good) cop taking down the would-be terrorists in Garland. I live in the Dallas media market so I've heard a great deal about this. And there's a lot of commentary out there.

I dunno. I wouldn't choose to host an event like that. If my town did, I'd plan on being as far as I could be from the venue where that was happening.

But they still have the right to do it, even as I might think it is something I want to stay away from.

Because if we start telling people, "No, you can't do those kinds of things" then where do we stop? Do we tell Christians to take crosses off their businesses (or off their persons)?

I honestly think between this kind of thing, and between the whole "we want employers to pay for birth control and abortions no matter what their religious position is" and the same-sex marriage issue, we're going to see a lot of challenges to the "freedom of religion" part of the First Amendment in the next 20 years.

And it's gonna get ugly, I anticipate. And the pessimistic side of me says there will be people agitating for either abridging or doing away with some of the Bill of Rights. (Some will argue that that has already happened, in practice if not on paper).

I don't know. (With the same-sex marriage thing, my feeling is: get the government out of marriage. Encourage people to appoint a power-of-attorney and make a legal list of who can visit them in the hospital and have them make a will and all that. And then encourage couples who want to marry to find a religious leader who wants to marry them. In an ideal world - and our world is far from ideal - that means Conservative rabbis or Southern Baptist ministers or conservative priests will not be pressured to marry same-sex couples, whereas the more liberal Reform rabbis, or Unitarian Universalist ministers, or other more-liberal Protestant ministers can decide to. Give people freedom. But I will observe that it seems slightly tacky to me to go to someone that you KNOW is going to feel opposition to what you are going to do, and force them - using the government and the courts - to do it.

I dunno. I can respect the beliefs of those who absolutely don't want same-sex couples to marry but I admit at the same time, I think anything encouraging long-term commitment is probably a net good for the culture. And I say this as a long-term single.)

The whole health care thing? I expect it's going to blow up one of two ways: either it will be found to be unsustainable as it is, and it goes back to some kind of either employer-based or private-paid system, maybe with more Medicaid for those who can't afford it. Or it goes full-blown single-payer, which I admit makes me nervous, because he who pays the piper calls the tune, and already my workplace is being a bit intrusive with the "wellness" reminders they give us (apparently if we are all skinny vegetarian exercise buffs, no one will ever get sick or hurt, and we won't cost our insurer ANY money ever....) The government - well, picture the DMV or the IRS doling out health "advice".....

But as for people saying, "I find the practice of other religions abhorrent and I wish not to be reminded of them" or "The particular strictures of my own faith must be extended to everyone else regardless of their faith" - there's not really a fix for that beyond saying, "No, that's not how we work as a country, and if you don't like it, there are other places you can emigrate to."

I mean, I am all for personally not doing things that would offend others. But there are lines. I would not get up in front of a class that I suspected had Muslim students in it and draw a man on the blackboard and say it was Mohammed. And I don't wear low-cut tops or shorter-than-the-knee skirts in class, just for modesty and propriety reasons.....but I would not comply if an upper administrator told me, "This student in your class, for religious reasons, objects to your teaching with your hair uncovered, could you put this headscarf on for the class?*" (Or, worse: "Could you swap classes with a male colleague, this student doesn't want a woman teaching him")

(*Not necessarily Islam; there are some other conservative religious groups that expect women cover their hair)

I don't know. It seems like being able to live together is becoming increasingly hard, that there are some voices who want to drown out all the other ones. Maybe it has always been so, it just seems that I notice it more now.

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