28 November 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things: J is for Justice Part II

The most obvious “J” word would have been, of course, “Jesus,” but I’m saving Him for another letter of the alphabet. So I’ll talk briefly about my views on three issues where I will generate disagreement with some of my conservative brethren. For brevity of posting, I’ll divide this into three separate posts.


Jeff Merkley is a Demostablishment puppet. He parrots the party line and does little to distinguish himself or Oregon. Ron Wyden at least bucked the party on Rand Paul’s filibuster.  But Merkley has found his bill and it fits enough of his constituents to (probably) make him reelectable, which is all I think any of them on either side of the aisle truly care about. As to the merits of the bill, I think a person has the right to decide for themselves who they want to be. I think “discrimination” is wrong, but good judgment and respect for the beliefs of others isn’t. The bill makes exceptions for religious beliefs, although it’s still too ambiguous for my tastes, and it fails to address “bonafide occupational requirements,” which every other federal non-discrimination statute except race does.  Fix those two issues, and I'll support your bill.

Public Prayer

I recently saw a sign in a photo of a protest outside the Supreme Court while they were debating Greece v. Galloway, the most recent suit dealing with the issue of prayer at public meetings. It said “Keep your theocracy off my democracy.” Ironic that the sign holder doesn’t acknowledge that a democracy means that people that disagree with her get to vote, too. Fortunately, we don’t live in a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic, meaning the majority doesn’t always rule and the minority doesn’t always get to stop the majority. I think it works pretty good most of the time.
What doesn’t work is everyone getting offended so easily. In the case in question, I have no problem with a public entity opening its proceedings with an invocation. As a believer, I welcome it! But I also realize not everyone believes like I do, and I fully expect people that DON’T agree with me to get to participate in a public forum in the manner of their choosing. That means we might have a Hindu prayer, or a (gasp) Muslim prayer, or an atheist politely addressing the participants directly and asking them to do their jobs faithfully, wisely, and well. What will I do if someone is voicing a prayer I disagree with? I’ll do what I expect them to do when I’m the one praying: stand there quietly and respectfully, silently voice my own prayer if I feel it necessary, but to show common courtesy for the rights and opinions of others. Allowing others to participate in public proceedings doesn’t force me to do so. I don’t get my feelings hurt if someone says something I don’t like or I disagree with. It is, after all, a “free” country. It just seems we’re a lot more free to prevent other people from doing things we don’t like than we are free to do as we please.

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