Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Open Response to Indiana Rep. Mike Delph

Mike Delph wrote in an editorial in the Indianapolis Star entitled "Opponents of Christian values don’t fight fair":

'With the flurry of federal litigation regarding Indiana’s marriage statute, a law that has been on the books since 1986, it appears that our Hoosier society is on the verge of walking through a door never negotiated. Homosexuality is probably the most discussed sin in a sea of hundreds.'

Really? Because the Bible never mentions it at all. The Bible has hundreds of passages on caring for the poor, standing for the oppressed, and loving your neighbour. Why is the sin of apathy toward the others not discussed and why are we making up sins to justify oppression?

'You see principles of self-government were always predicated on a strong moral foundation usually anchored by our value system based in large part on the Bible. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Back then, it’s hard to imagine these rights included gay marriage or civil unions. Especially when the Creator referenced is the same Creator from the Bible, the same Bible that references homosexuality as “an abomination in the sight of God.”'

1) Thomas Jefferson was a deist and had a number of disagreements with the Bible. To suggest that "the Creator" mentioned in the Declaration was the God of the Bible is in conflict with much of the writings and thoughts of the Founding Fathers, including Jefferson. 2) Our principle of governance is not based on a moral foundation, but the idea of EQUALITY for ALL PEOPLE. When you promote laws that oppress a group of people, you are directly opposing the very basis of our law. 3) Back then it's also hard to imagine those rights included interracial marriages or women being able to sue for divorce. 4) The Bible doesn't reference homosexuality as an abomination in the sight of God. First, homosexuality is never mentioned in the Bible because the concept was NOT KNOWN at the time. Period. Second, the term translated "abomination" in the Bible, to'ebah, was an indication that something rendered you ritually unclean. Abominations included cutting the corners of your hair, having a tattoo, planting a field with two crops, wearing mixed fabrics, and remarrying a woman you had previously divorced. None of those are sins. None of those apply to anyone but covenant Jews. None of those are things we would legislate against.

'Rights come from God and are inalienable, meaning they cannot be taken away by man, or more important, by government.'

Indeed, not even by government-sanctioned oppression, such as the 1986 law.

'Governments are instituted among men to protect those rights. Not even courts have the power to create or remove rights. So how can a right exist that does not come from our Creator and what modern rights do we honestly believe are divinely inspired as opposed to invented and imposed by a left-wing orthodoxy?'

Courts aren't creating rights, but recognising that the right already exists. Just liek straight people, LGBT people have the right to life-- to live without fear of being murdered for who they are or denied critical needs such as medical treatment and housing-- and to liberty-- to live as equals in all areas including employment, harassment-free education, and legal protections of their families in all matters including medical decision-making, inheritance, and co-parenting-- and the pursuit of happiness-- including the right to make their own decisions based on their own belief system, rather than yours. What other "sin" do you propose to use to justify withholding rights from a portion of society? Maybe you'd like to suggest that Muslim marriages, since they aren't Christian and are, therefore "sinful" should also not be recognised and protected in the state of Indiana? Or how about atheists? Or Christians who marry non-Christians? Divorcees?

'Probably the biggest mess of all was when the government started involving itself in marriage. Tax benefits, estate planning benefits, societal legitimacy are all things traditional marriage brings participants. Even so the stability of society from traditional two parent families has served our state and nation well for years. This is what we are walking away from in our unquenchable thirst for political correctness and false tolerance.'

Shedding oppressive laws isn't false tolerance or political correctness.

'Now there is evidence that not only will businesses be sued for operating according to their own faith traditions, but churches themselves can be sued if they refuse to ordain a union their God rejects.'

This is patently untrue. You are fear-mongering, sir, and should be ashamed of yourself. True love casts out all fear. It is obvious you do not practice Christ's call to love or you wouldn't be bearing false witness in such a craven manner.

'Social order has been inverted and no one knows the impact, not even the staunchest advocates for this hard turn to the left. I recall a lecture in Bloomington when I was in college by William F. Buckley. He was answering a question regarding the legalization of marijuana, something to which he seemed sympathetic. He said that until societies truly understand the social costs and benefits of public policy and know that the benefit outweighs the cost, they should tread carefully.'

We are not speaking about public policy. We are talking about justice and equality. Human dignity cannot be placed on scales. The costs of oppression are manifold and terrible. How dare you compare the degradation and pain meted out to LGBT members of our society every day to a recreational drug.

'No one knows the end of the path we now walk.'

That was also true when we as a society decided that people of colour deserved equal rights, when we decided women deserved equal rights, when we decided that interracial marriages deserved equal protections. That's no excuse to forego justice.

'Perhaps we should consider this in the case of opening the floodgates to traditional marriage. No one with a soul wants someone harmed or discriminated against for being gay. But they also don’t want more than 200 years of social norms flushed down the drain without knowing the impact on the world. This is our dilemma.'

It's only a dilemma if you consider people's lives as less important than a harmful and oppressive social tradition.

'We are becoming a society and world without boundaries. Anything goes if it has a market.'

So you are suggesting that LGBT people should have boundaries imposed on them that straight, cisgender people do not? How is this anything but injustice and bigotry? This isn't a matter of a "market". People are not property. Their lives are not for sale.

'The liberal indoctrination is endless as we watch cultural elitists attack traditional values and bedrock American social norms.'

Oppression is not a value. If injustice is a bedrock American social norm, we should all be ashamed, not proud, and certainly not working to uphold it.

'Mickey Maurer, owner of the Indianapolis Business Journal, and John Krull, journalism director at Franklin College and publisher of The Statehouse File (and former head of the ICLU), have used their positions and media outlets to promote intolerance of traditional social norms, including long held Judeo-Christian views.'

Opposing intolerance is not intolerance. Telling a bully to stop bullying is not bullying. You are not being oppressed when someone tells you you can't oppress someone else just because you can justify it with a few verses taken out of all context. That was true of equal rights for women. It was true of equal rights for people of colour. It was true of legal protections for interracial marriage. And it is true now in recognising the equality of LGBT people.

'Political reporters Brian Howey and Jim Shella reinvent the chic diet of false entitlement, false rights and false fairness while attacking proponents of traditional values suggesting a seemliness and dirtiness for those who cling to their guns and Bibles.'

Oh, dear sir, we do not need to suggest anything. All we have to do is point to your "traditional values" of oppression and injustice, and everyone can see the score. Your "values" are unseemly and dirty. Open your eyes.

'And they are all supposed to be friends of the American experience, friends of freedom when it agrees with their perverted worldview.'

Your worldview is that all are not created equal and that the government should not extend to all equal rights based on your faith. It is your worldview that is perverted, not the view of those who oppose your injustice.

'It’s past time that we consider removing marriage completely from the confines of government, and let the church and other faith-based institutions marry according to their own belief systems and traditions.'

So, are you okay with your in-laws having the right to make medical decisions for your wife? Are you okay with them banning you from your wife's hospital room if they feel like it? Are you okay with having no say on funeral decisions, obituaries, etc. if your wife dies? Are you okay with your wife paying crushing inheritance taxes on your property upon your death as if you were legally strangers, potentially leaving her unable to remain in your home? Are you okay with only one of you being able to legally adopt a child? Are you okay with no one being able to get any sort of accommodation for their foreign spouse to enter, remain in, or seek citizenship in the US? Are you okay with the US military stopping paying any sort of benefits to the spouses of our brave men and women who serve?

'If I have learned anything over the last months in the HJR-3 debate, opponents of traditional Judeo-Christian values don’t fight fair or with honor.'

Injustice is not a traditional Judeo-Christian value, for it does not fit with the greatest commandment to love, the commands to treat our neighbours as we wish to be treated, the commands to love everyone, even our worst enemies, and to do good to all, even those who we believe would do us harm. When you propose that oppression, bigotry, injustice, and cold-heartedness are "traditional Judeo-Christian values," you reveal that you do not understand or practice The Way of Jesus Christ.

'They fight to win, and to date have been very successful.'

Of course they fight to win. They are fighting for justice, for peace, for liberty, for equality, for love.

'I have to give the devil his due. But the issue is still unresolved and thinking members of faith still have time to engage.'

Thinking members of faith have engaged. And they have concluded that this matter of justice and equality means they should stand for the rights of LGBT people. Those opposed to it are those harbouring bigotry or a financial or political agenda.

'There is hope for an outcome where we all can win.'

Indeed. That would be equality for all. For, you see, when some are not free, none are truly free. Your opposition to marriage equality threatens my quite traditional marriage and my religious freedom.

'By then we may have a better understanding of the net social cost or benefit from the path we march down.'

If one more LGBT child is kicked out on the street by "Christian" parents to make their way by petty crime and prostitution, the price is too high. If one more LGBT person is beaten, stabbed, run over, shot, or doused with gasoline and burned to death, the price is too high. If one more LGBT husband or wife is unwelcome at their spouse's hospital bed or funeral, the price is too high. If one more LGBT child is driven to despair by bullying and your bigoted rhetoric into killing themselves, the price is too high. If one more LGBT widow or widower and their children lose their home to inheritance taxes, the price is too high. If one more LGBT person cannot be a proper and legally-recognised parent to their spouse's children, the price is too high. If one more LGBT child drops out of school because of the intolerance of fellow students, teachers, and staff, the price is too high. That's my cost/benefit analysis to the question of whether we should treat some of our citizens as second-class and undeserving of equality. We have seen the social cost of oppression. We will not tolerate it any more. If you are truly a man of Christ, you would not tolerate it either.

'Delph, R-Carmel, represents Indiana Senate District 29.'

I am not in your district, or I would be voting you out of office for your cold-heartedness and mockery of Christian faith.

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