Posts tagged ‘legally’

July 5, 2012

Freedom Fading

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/77412859@N00/280520591/

I love our country. As yesterday celebrated the birth of our freedom, I couldn’t help but get a bit nostalgic. I served in the US Navy for nine years and come from a family where my dad was a twenty year Navy vet. From the time I was a child, I was taught to love our country and its freedoms. Standing at a baseball game while the National Anthem played, removing my hat and placing it over my heart was a regular event in my childhood. We would go to cemeteries and place American flags on the graves of veterans for patriotic holidays like the 4th of July. In elementary school I got to be the one to raise and lower the flag and was selected because my dad had taught me the proper way to fold it.
The freedom that we have here was earned and won on the battlefields through the years. Freedom does not come without a price and that price is a high one. But men and women from the beginning of our country’s founding have thought it worth paying whatever price needed to secure it. Every generation has those who question the times and fear that freedom is fading. Our founding fathers put many layers of protection into the documents of our government to help protect what had been won and to remind each generation of the fragile nature of freedom.
Today we are experiencing many things that threaten our freedom. People who use this freedom to fight against free markets and religion don’t realize that if they are successful, they could lose the very freedom of speech that they are using to fight what they disagree about. The attack on our free market society is one that scares me. The demonizing of people who own companies that hire good, hard-working Americans is counter-productive to our freedom. The idea that if you work hard and achieve the American dream of owning a business and having it be successful is somehow made to seem wrong. Instead, we are being force-fed that our country is about fairness rather than freedom. And, somehow we are supposed to think that fairness means taking what someone worked for and giving it to someone who does not work? I am confused.
I also worry about how our schools and local government make anti-American laws and policies. I am always hearing about cities and communities who won’t allow the flag to be displayed, even on the graves of veterans. Or schools that don’t allow the pledge of allegiance or patriotic shirts because they might offend those who are here illegally. That flag represents a country that loves those who come here for help and offer opportunity for all who are willing to work hard and legally to make a better life. Our schools are a place to teach children how to read and do math and science and to grow up to be productive members of a society of free people. Nothing is offensive about that and pledging to support our country and our freedom is not a bad thing. If we quit supporting what this country stands for, we won’t have people coming here for freedom…duh!
Religion is another place that I feel our freedom is being threatened. Yes, I am a Christian. I am a pastor and I have a personal attachment to this part of freedom. I guess the two areas that I feel most threatened from freedom of religion standpoint it the way we are being told that separation of church and state is a constitutional issue. It is not. That phrase is not in the constitution; read it for yourself. This is what the constitution says about religion and government: The constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Separation of church and state was a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, talking about the intrusion of government into church business and how unconstitutional it was. Government is not to intrude in religion, not vice-versa. All legal citizens are free to participate in whatever level they chose in our government, no matter their religious beliefs.
Secondly, I feel freedom threatened by the bending over backward of our government to accommodate the Muslim religion and even to allow a perverted part of that belief, Sharia law, to override our countries laws, in some cases. Nothing against that faith, but that perversion of that faith allows for the killing of many people, including Christians. How can our government work so hard to suppress Christianity, which is responsible for more charity work all over the world than any other organization, and promote, often through silence, or making of special exceptions, a religion that kills those who don’t believe their way? I know these are isolated cases, but this is a serious issue that must be watched.
I am not in a panic mode, but I think that we should take a hard look at how some are attacking freedom. No, it is not a perfect country that we live in, but it is the best country and the most generous country in the world. I was happy to celebrate its independence yesterday and look forward to continuing the annual celebration. Freedom can only fade if we let it. Let freedom shine brightly for the world to see!

May 8, 2012

Marriage Debate

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/6168801346/

I don’t usually blog about stuff that is controversial or things that people can possibly disagree with me on, but today I am going to. In my neighbor state of North Carolina they are voting on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal and recognized form of marriage. It has been very interesting to listen to the talk about this issue. Some people get all freaked out about it and the arguments are often to the point of being ridiculous and even funny. My favorite is the one that says, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. How silly is that? We all know that Steve was not created until after Jesus walked on water.
I figure that sometime between now and the end of the week I will get asked what my opinion is about this, so I am jumping ahead of the game and putting out my blog before I am even asked.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. I am not the final authority, although I should be. Things would just be so much easier if everyone agreed with me. My opinion is not really an opinion but rather a question. What has been the definition of marriage for as long as there have been marriages? Merrian-Webster Dictionary has given this definition for as long as it has been in print: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. There is a 2nd definition that includes same-sex marriage, but it was added within the last 30 years or so. There was a time when no one would ever think of marriage any other way. For thousands of years that is what marriage was. If two people lived together, as lovers, that did not mean they were married. In some states there was a provision under the law called common law marriage, so that people who shared an estate for many years had certain rights, but it was not an official marriage to those people. Why do we need to change the definition? Perhaps there should be another descriptive word for same-sex couples who legally or ceremonially join as a couple.
If we change the definition of marriage because someone doesn’t like what it means, where do you draw the line? The definition of a word that is as old as marriage should not offend people. It was never meant to. I don’t like the word bald meaning no hair, so I think I want it to mean I have hair. Change the definition and I am still bald.
The real argument is not about a definition, but about civil rights afforded to two people who live together. Why not just change that law instead of the definition of the institution of marriage? I could care less if that happens. But we all know that it goes deeper than that. Marriage is something that most people relate to a religious argument. The only religion that I have personal knowledge of and its teaching about marriage is Christianity and from what I understand, it too describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Many of the laws in most civilized countries have a religious foundation, including murder and stealing. But many laws have no religious bearing what so ever. Traffic laws for instance have nothing to do with a religious teaching at all. They are made by man for man (and women).
My point is this. If people of the same-sex want to be legally equal in the benefits and rights given to a couple of opposite sex, then make a law to give those rights. Don’t change the meaning of marriage. It has meant one thing for far longer than this modern argument has been going on. Our country has a system in place to help those who are overlooked, by-passed, or even purposefully mistreated. Legislators can amend constitutions and correct injustice, but it doesn’t have to be done by changing a definition. We did not change the definition of slavery to free those who were wronged, we changed the law. A slave is still someone who is owned and controlled by another human.
So that is my blog on the controversial subject being voted on in my neighboring state. Remember that I said that it would be better if everyone agreed with me. Don’t make things difficult, just agree. And by agree, I mean, think like me, act like me, be like me. Later I may try to come up with a word that we can use for same-sex unions that I like. Until then, I will only use marriage to describe a man and a woman, legally able to file taxes as married people. Don’t be hatin’; its my blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers