Making the pleas

I’ve been pleading with people who I suspect or know will vote “Yes” on 1, the Maine ballot measure that would codify one group’s idea of morality over another, thus damaging the very concept of rights (and, incidentally, keeping it illegal for same-sex partners to marry). Here is one message I made specifically for someone, but it can apply to anyone leading toward oppression.

Even though I’m unlikely to change your mind if you’ve already decided, I still want you to know that no one should impose their morality upon another. That is what “Yes on 1” means. It doesn’t simply mean you are against homosexual sex or relationships. It means you believe it is your place to tell people how they should behave. Look deep within yourself and ask if your rights are being infringed by same-sex marriage. Ask yourself if you will hurt financially or physically. Ask yourself if your religious beliefs can no longer be practiced. Ask yourself if this harms your liberty or life. Does it prevent your personal pursuit of happiness?

As November nears I find myself getting more and more passionate and more and more focused on this issue. I give almost no thought any more to whether or not love matters. I care little about whether or not homosexual sex is moral or immoral (or amoral). What concerns me – and far more deeply than anyone knows – is that this is fundamentally about rights. Infringe upon the rights of one group and you no longer have those rights for any groups; they become privileges. They place one group above another based upon majority rule, not based upon equality and fairness. Rights must be rights for all.

Thought of the day

I have an utter rage about me at the moment. The Oppressors want to deny citizens of my fair state their equal protections on the law. This is a denial of marriage as a right at all; should the Oppressors achieve their moral imposition, they shall have succeeded in making a marriage a privilege. They seek to undermine the very concept of rights. A clear violation of the 14th Amendment, such action would also have outraged the founding fathers.

“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”

~Thomas Jefferson

Thought of the day

Religion is a major obstacle in the fight for science. It doesn’t always stand in its way (some people just don’t care, even bring it along for the spiritual ride), but it is often at odds. I don’t mean to imply that science and religion are compatible. Religion simply has the ability to occasionally get out of the way. But more often than not, it doesn’t do this. That is why it must be attacked and thrown around and beaten up. Do that and the door to science opens another crack.

He finally gets him

Religions would squirm

Recent evidence suggests Europa has enough oxygen for life.

The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

The research says various openings in the top of Europa’s massive oceans could provide a pathway for oxidizers to deliver an oxygen content which could quickly exceed that of Earth’s oceans.

All this makes me wonder. What would the religions of the world do? What would they do if life was found elsewhere? I know many would adapt their teachings pretty quickly; they would ignore that a central part of their beliefs is that humans are special (the arrogance!). It may take a period of adjustment, but none of them would let go of what they’ve always believed. They’d just pretend like their holy book was ballparking its claims and move on (just like they do when they claim “days” really means “millions of years”). But what about the other guys? The creationists and likewise country bumpkins? While they tend to be some of the most dishonest people around, I do think they would maintain their point of view. Whereas most of religion would shift uncomfortably for a period, the more literal-minded mooks would squirm. They’d deny facts, twist evidence, make false associations and accusations. I guess I’m basically saying they’d continue exactly what they do now.

Hubble

More Hubble.

The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171

The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171

Sometimes they get it right

While many people obviously put little thought into their letters to the editor, that isn’t true of everyone. Here is one example.

Today, I read a front-page article called “Changing the Law” and I decided to take a stand in Question 1 debate.

Your article noted two important factors in the debate, and I have a comment about each.

To Mainers I ask: Why do we allow tax-exempt status to an organization that collects political contributions alongside donations to the ministry? It sounds to me that the Catholic Church has abused its influence and blurred the line between worship and activism. I also ask the church, why do you ignore your members who share a different view, who accept homosexual marriage as a civil right, separate from faith?

A second factor is the influence of out-of-state groups. Why don’t we agree to keep the debate local? We don’t want transplant volunteers from Massachusetts or New Hampshire just like we don’t want copy-cat advertisements from California scare groups.

When we vote on Nov. 3, let’s remember what makes us Mainers: We respect everyone in our community; we do things our own way; we value reason over rancor; and we don’t vote on other peoples’ rights.

This November, please vote “no” on Question 1.

Padric Gleason

Dresden

I recently wrote about the Catholic Church abusing its tax-exempt status. Religions shouldn’t be exempt from taxation in the first place, but since they are, they should at least obey the law. Padric Gleason understands that; his comments deserve respect.

More letters to the editor

Do people put thought into what they write before sending their letters off to the editor?

I was reading Vivian Ellis’ letter (Oct. 11) regarding Judge Nancy Mills conduct in regards to the Leo Hylton trial for the house break-in and assault on the Guerrette family: “…He should be comfortable with his legal defense.”

Yeah, right! This travesty of justice is an old story with Judge Mills. Her typical sentencing is of the “20 years, all but 2 suspended…” variety.

How do we get rid of these liberal judges and replace them with judges with some spine? I do not know the answer, perhaps someone can shed some light on this subject. This business of letting murderers go free after 15 or 20 years is another example of the failure of our judicial system. The bleeding heart reply to stiffer sentences is, “the jails and prisons are overcrowded.”

Build more and bigger jails, get rid of the cable TVs, commissary, freebie this and freebie that, etc. In my opinion, jails and prisons should not have the “country club” status they have now. That’s a big part of the problem. Check out Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. Here’s a guy that’s tuned into reality!

Convicted murderers and sex offenders: Issue brown uniforms, glue antlers on their heads and turn them loose into the woods next month! Those that make it get to serve out their sentence.

Finally, what ever happened to the concept of a speedy trial? Lawyer shenanigans can result in a wait of two years, maybe more, for a case to come to trial.

Robert Schena

Whitefield

I almost wrote about the referenced letter last week. I decided against it because I told myself most people don’t buy into such inanity. I guess I was wrong.

Quick summary: Guy machete’s a family (which survives). He gets a lawyer. Recently, he asked for a different one and his request was granted. Some mook writes that this is absurd. Now we get the above letter.

Why don’t people understand that bar a few requirements, defendants have a choice in counsel? That anyone would think this absurd is tantamount to saying the Constitution is absurd. But my favorite part of this letter is the reference to a speedy trial. This concept specifically relates to the defendant. What Robert Schena suggests is that the state has a right to a speedy trial. At the very least his criticism should be that it is the fault of the state for allowing the defendant a new lawyer. This doesn’t mean the defendant should be denied his rights because the state is slow to act. To think otherwise is clearly illogical. Of course, this is all moot because Schena hides in language by referring to “lawyer shenanigans”, not any specific event. And if he is referencing this supposed “shenanigan”, then he is wrong. It doesn’t take years.

It’s utterly clear that these people who whine about this sort of thing are just emotional infants who have no concept of individual rights. ‘What? The bad guy wants something? Noooo! Waaaahhh!” Grow up, Schena.

New Central Maine Publication

By Staff

Welcome.

Without Apology is a free monthly publication devoted to spreading good ideas throughout the central Maine region.

No idea is so sacred as to deserve unquestioned deference. Indeed, many ideas are just bad. All ideas should be open to criticism.

In this vain, Without Apology is an open-forum, editorial-style format. There is no one agenda for this publication except insofar as a presentation of good ideas is an agenda. And with this non-agenda agenda comes a storm against bad ideas. These are given too much respect all too often.

But there should be no misunderstanding. Without Apology is not out to be disrespectful for the sake of doing so. Sometimes ideas do deserve respect, even if they are pointed in the wrong direction.

But this does not mean all ideas. Do you believe Earth is 6,000 years old? If so, you have utterly silly, inane beliefs which ignore all evidence and deserve nothing but scorn, ridicule, and dismissal. Do you believe it is okay to deny your fellow citizen rights? If so, you’re a bigot, and no one respects a bigot. Do you believe you should treat people like dirt simply because you can? If so, you should be forced to face all the criticism that comes to such demeanors.

Without Apology has no fear in taking a strong tone. It has no fear in telling people when they have bad ideas. It isn’t out to dump all over everyone; It will offer praise when praise is due. But it is not here to coddle. It is not the mainstream media.

So please explore what Without Apology has to offer. Let us know what you think.

Trivial Theology

By Michael Hawkins

It goes without notice when a theologian is asked to appear on television or in print concerning a recent disaster or a current social issue. Media and society turn to these people for answers. Has anyone bothered to ask why?

Theology really has nothing worthwhile to offer. It is a bankrupt field that says nothing true of the real world which is not trifling. Indeed, it is hardly a field at all. If not for prestige by longevity, it could very well be dismissed as little more than literary criticism with a very narrow focus.

What can theologians resolve for the world? Can they offer society any practical information which cannot be discovered otherwise? Beyond this, can theologians even resolve internal issues?

The answer is nothing, no, and no. There is no method by which theology self-corrects. It is a field which is explicitly at the mercy of subjective interpretation which, unsurprisingly, moves with the times (even if it often lags a bit). Should a person ask, “Is the story of Noah’s Ark true?”, theologians have no way to answer that. They must turn to some external source to discover the answer. (It’s “No, because it’s utterly silly to believe in such a fairy tale”, by the way.)

Theology, in fact, is not a way of knowing. It gets touted as such, of course, but no evidence is ever presented to support such a claim. How could there be evidence? Claiming a single book has self-contained answers excludes all drive for verification; it teaches there be no hunger to know beyond its bounds. More importantly, it is an audacious claim on the level of saying The Lord of the Rings must be true, so it needs no outside verification.

All theologians have achieved is a meaningless distinction in society based upon a non-field. They can tell us nothing which is not trivial – and when they try, there’s no way to verify the truth to their claims. They are those among us who happen to use their literacy in devotion to a narrow topic that cannot be resolved through any frivolous knowledge they may have.