Choices, rights, and privileges

I read a letter to the editor of the North Fort Myers Neighbor this morning on the subject of homosexuality, marriage, and the repeal of the “Don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy. The letter, from Whitney Decker, is titled “Is it wrong to love?”, and favors the continued push for normalization of homosexuality in our society.

I disagree with much of Ms. Decker’s letter, and though I could express my disagreement in a responding letter to the editor or by commenting online, I don’t know Ms. Decker, and I don’t want this to come across as a personal attack. She sounds like a reasonable and thoughtful person.

Happily, I have a blog.

Ms. Decker avows that she is a Christian and reads her Bible and can’t find any Scripture that forbids same-sex marriage. I don’t know if she is a Christian. I don’t know how much she reads her Bible. I do know that she doesn’t understand the Bible in the same way I do.

However, that is not the main thrust of her letter, and neither is it the point of this response. After using a weak and tenuous definition of love to open her opinion, she launches into her line of reasoning with this gem, “Every day, [homosexuals] are unfairly told they are not allowed the same rights as “normal” couples.”

“Rights,” she says.

Those that are trying to make homosexuality a normal and accepted lifestyle are succeeding. They have used every means possible to popularize their sentiments. We have reached the point where it is no longer surprising or shocking to see homosexuality depicted as normal on television or in movies.

Ms. Decker’s opinion is an example of the thinking that is becoming widely accepted as fact. It is thinking that is both reasonable and wrong. It’s reasonable because there is logic and reason that is used on a premise that leads to a conclusion. It’s wrong because the premise is wrong. The premise is that we are arguing about “rights.” In fact, those that are pushing for the normalization of homosexuality and any other aberrant behavior will always find it in their best interests to argue from this premise.

Quoting Ms. Decker again, “Every one, gay or straight, should have the same rights.” I agree. If we are talking about fundamental human rights, then the premise is correct. Are homosexuals human? Yes. Do homosexuals have the right to be treated as human? Yes.

However, the many other issues that come up regarding homosexuality are not “rights” issues, though popular opinion, as evidenced by Ms. Decker, would have you believe them to be so. Marriage? Adoption? Serving in the military? Those are not human rights. Those are societal privileges. Using the premise of rights to argue for the granting of privileges is nonsensical and misleading.

Should homosexuals have the privilege of serving in the military? That’s a different question than their “right” to serve. Should homosexuals have the privilege of adopting children? Should they have access to the privilege of marriage? Talk about these things from that vantage point and we can have a real discussion.

[For the record, I don’t think it is wise to allow homosexuals to have any of those privileges. It might surprise you to know that serving in the military might be the one privilege I could see homosexuals having. Giving homosexuals the privilege to marry just makes no sense.]

Every day, we are being told that we don’t have the “right” to treat a homosexual differently than a heterosexual, therefore it is wrong if we do. That’s astounding irony, isn’t it?

No one has the “right” to marry. No one has the “right” to be in the military. No one has the “right” to adopt children. No one has the “right” to be a school teacher. But when you equate the “rights” of being human with the “right” to do these other things, you have started with an incorrect premise, which leads to a false conclusion. The false conclusion we’ve been led to is that by taking away these “rights”, we are treating homosexuals poorly.

In the end, our privilege to disagree is being attacked. Once again, this is ironic. Those of us that disagree with the normalization of homosexuality are told that we can’t disagree, though even if we have the right to disagree, such disagreement is hateful and immoral and wrong, equal with being a Nazi or a anti-suffragist or slave-owner.

Thankfully, I still have the privilege of disagreeing. I still have the opportunity to say that homosexuality is wrong. Homosexuality is a lifestyle a person chooses, regardless of the inclinations of nature or nurture. A person is no more born to be a homosexual than they are born to be a carpenter or a thief. Just as no one has a right to be a carpenter, but only gains the privilege and opportunity, no one has the right to be a homosexual and to live as one. However, should they make that choice, they shouldn’t be surprised when their privileges and opportunities do not match those of people that have made the choice to live a heterosexual lifestyle.

Thank you for the privilege of sharing my thoughts.

Putting the rebels in charge

An oft-repeated poem outlines the confusion of trying to live in absolute freedom…freedom from any responsibility or rule or law or God telling you how you should live.

Creed by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes
UFO’s and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

From reading this elsewhere on the web, the last 11 lines were not in the original version, but were added later by Turner for the publication in Ravi Zacharias’ book, Can Man Live Without God?

On the other hand, if you really believe in “live-and-let-live” and that you can just believe whatever you want without needing moral absolutes, could I get change for a million?

It’s Sunday, but Monday’s coming! [Rev]

How many similarities and differences do you see between Easter for today’s church and Easter for those that experienced the first one? Of course, the differences are many – egg hunts, sales and shopping, chocolate bunnies, to name a few.

But one of the biggest differences also leads to one of the biggest similarities.

The first Easter was rather low-key, I would imagine. Jesus’ followers were still in hiding and shock from the events of the crucifixion. Even hearing the news that Jesus was alive, there had to be disbelief, numbness, confusion – as evidenced by the conversation of the disciples traveling to Emmaus.

On the other hand, Easter in American churches is decidedly…loud. We know that it might be the only chance we have to impress those that will only enter our doors this one time, so we pull out all the stops. For many churches that means a production – a BIG production. Even several days of the big production.

And then?

That’s where there can be an important similarity. What do you do when what seems like the big finish becomes the big beginning? How do you refocus when events seem to have reached their peak, when the credits should roll and everyone should live happily ever after…and Monday comes?

For James, John, Peter and the gang, three years of preparation had led them to Jerusalem and a terrible ending. The Messiah was taken and killed. One of their group had betrayed him and their entire purpose had vanished on a cross. Then Easter morning came and the terrible ending suddenly became something else entirely.

The fatigue of wasted emotion gave way to exhilaration, then to a new reality for this small group. The Messiah HAD come, but it wasn’t what they had expected. Suddenly there was the responsibility of a continued and sustained…something. Something, that would become the Church.

It became the beginning of the most important fifty days in the life of the Church. Fifty days later, there was power in the upper room and God breaking through in the streets. It all started on a Monday.

That’s where we are, the beginning of fifty important days in the life of the Church.

The big productions came and went. The songs were sung, the big outreaches to kids and families were produced, all hands were on deck and the ships sailed. (Okay, I mix my metaphors and overdo it a bit…and tend to run-on my sentences, but hopefully you get the idea.)

And the question for all is…now what?

Monday.

We’ll debrief the weekend. We’ll think about the next big event. We’ll gameplan for the summer. We’ll try to recover physically and emotionally from what we’ve used in the productions and big Easter events.

But – and I’ll guarantee this – the next fifty days will be important. By the time we get to May 31, we’ll know how Easter weekend really went. As we head into June we’ll know whether these last few days produced life or just a lot of activity.

Yes, it’s been important, and hopefully some lasting decisions have been made and new life has begun.

Yes, the tomb is empty. But Monday’s coming.

And 50 important days.

Ready?