My Experience in a NOM Comment Section

Today was the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. I watched a live stream on YouTube (muted). From what I could see, there were only a few hundred people there. My guess was 300 max. While watching the live stream, the comments were ablaze! All of those comments have since been deleted as well as the ratings, which were overwhelmingly dislikes.

I would guess that 95% of the commenters were for marriage equality rather than for what this rally stood for. At first I just watched the comments and stayed silent. But after a while, I just felt the need to interject here and there.

The few anti-gay-marriage people kept throwing out fallacies about gay marriage to which they were immediately shut down, but ignored this fact. Things like natural law, the Bible, and looking out for the children were repeatedly on their fingers.

As for natural law, there are MANY signs of homosexual couplings in nature. As for the Bible, not everyone agrees on what the Bible says, nor should that dictate the law of the United States of America. As for the children, there are many different types of families where children thrive and it’s not always a one mom-one dad household.

Repeatedly, these truths were told to the deniers, and repeatedly we were accused of not being tolerant. How silly a thing to say! To fight against injustice is not intolerance! If so, Martin Luther King Jr. would have been intolerant towards the KKK. We all know that’s not how it works.

People who believe like NOM have every right to believe what they want and have their opinions. Heck, they have every right to express those opinions. But when it gets in the way of the rights of others, or hurts people, that’s when I think it’s wrong and we need to fight back.

To deny two people the right to marry just because it is perceived to be against one’s religion is wrong. I also found it so ironic that no one mentioned divorce as much as they did gay marriage. Allowing gay people to get married is not and will not ever be ruining marriage. Do you know what is ruining marriage? Divorce is. Infidelity is. But we don’t see rallies about that, now do we? It’s a problem and I was happy to take some time today to point that out.

I will always fight for equality and even in the comments section of this YouTube stream, I will stand for what’s right.

The Bible Was Clear on Slavery (But Not in the Way You Might Think)

Originally posted on Sketches By Boze:

postfull-see-a-free-screening-of-12-years-a-slave-fassy_sarah_detIf you had lived in the days before the Civil War when the battle for abolition was heating up, whose side would you have been on?

It’s important to remember that for thousands of churches, this conflict was a religious conflict – with God and the Bible “clearly” defending a person’s right to own slaves.

It was a serious moral issue: the idea that slaves should be freed was dangerously immoral.

“The right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures,” said the Rev. Richard Furman in 1823.

“How this question can at all arise in the mind of any man . . . that is acquainted with the history of the Bible, is a phenomenon I cannot explain to myself,” said Rabbi Morris Raphal in 1861.

Verses like Ephesians 6:1-5 and 1 Timothy 6:1-2 were marshaled by the pro-slavery forces, who in most cases were decent…

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My Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Most of my close friends and family know that I’m not much of a cook or baker. When the holidays roll around, I’m always eager to try a new recipe, but most of the time it fails. One irony is that one of my most hated recipes is my dad’s favorite! I guess there’s always the oddball!

This particular recipe I want to share is one that I claim as my own, but I have used a few other recipes as a guide. I normally like to use red peppers, but really any bell pepper is fine. In this post, I’ll share photos of my dinner where we got orange, yellow, and green bell peppers from a local farmer’s market. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take photos step by step until I was putting the peppers in the oven! But here goes anyway!

Mel’s Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers
4-6 bell peppers
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked rice (I use white rice)
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut the stems out of the peppers and cut the peppers in half, lengthwise. Make sure all seeds and ribs are removed from the peppers. Place the peppers on a baking pan that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray such as Pam.

Brown the ground beef and drain the grease, then return to pan.

In a separate pan, begin to cook your rice based on the packaging so that it will be done when ready to add to beef mixture.

To the ground beef, add the spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Cook over medium heat until spaghetti sauce starts to warm and all ingredients are well mixed.

When the rice is done cooking, slowly and gently stir into beef mixture until combined.

Spoon mixture into each pepper. The amount of peppers you need will vary based on how big the peppers are and how much beef mixture you desire in each pepper, so you may use your judgment.

Once all the peppers are filled with the beef mixture, sprinkle desired amount of mozzarella cheese on top of each pepper.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Remove from oven to cool slightly, but serve hot.

My personal opinion is that this recipe fares better with red, orange, or yellow peppers over the green peppers, but we used what was at our market, and it still turned out great!

Let me know if you try this recipe and what changes you might make! Enjoy!!!

Old School Christian Views on Abortion

The following text is taken from a letter sent from the Baptist Press dated January 31, 1973. It was sent to members of Southern Baptist churches regarding a recent Supreme Court ruling in Texas that overturned a law which outlawed abortion except in cases where the life of the mother was at risk. In essence, it made abortion legal.

Excerpt from the Press Release

Excerpt from the Press Release

Towards the end of the letter they shared a “FAQ” type section and this was one of the questions that they must have known would be brought up.

Question: Does the Supreme Court decision on abortion intrude on the religious life of the people?

Answer: No. Religious bodies and religious persons can continue to teach their own particular views to their constituents with all the vigor they desire. People whose conscience forbids abortion are not compelled by law to have abortions. They are free to practice their religion according to the tenets of their personal or corporate faith.

The reverse is also now true since the Supreme Court decision. Those whose conscience or religious convictions are not violated by abortion may not now be forbidden by a religious law to obtain an abortion if they so choose.

In short, if the state laws are now made to conform to the Supreme Court ruling, the decision to obtain an abortion or to bring pregnancy to full term can now be a matter or conscience and deliberate choice rather than one compelled by law.

Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.

THIS. I don’t even have commentary. It speaks for itself. The same question is asked today regarding gay marriage by many conservative Christians, and the same answer can be given.

to my gramps.

Originally posted on gypsies & sinners.:

Hi, Grandpa.

I love you. I miss you. My heart aches to see how you’ve been laid waste in the media by our own family. Everyone talks about you as if you’re already in the grave; I know your heart is still beating & I hope you live up to your stubborn legacy & live for a long while yet.

To the whole world you were only ever the face of an evil entity. But of course to me you were always my Gramps. My kind, sweet, adoring Gramps. I miss you so much. I wish the sisters & I could meet you & Granny for another shake party up in your room (we’ll even bring your favorite strawberry one from McDonald’s).

I’m sorry for every second we’ve been apart this last year and four months. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you more when you were mine. I’m sorry our…

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The Question That Keeps Me Up at Night

Originally posted on Sketches By Boze:

the-tree-of-life-2A few weeks ago, a Tennessee youth pastor (Charlie Pittman) was suspended from work after being charged with murdering his girlfriend and staging her suicide.

The people who hired him were baffled.

Their church carefully screens all its employees. Only decent Christians are allowed to work there. He has to be a “nice guy, not on drugs, doesn’t smoke.”

And by that definition, Mr. Pittman was a pretty great guy. He was also, apparently, a murdering sociopath.

And it just makes me wonder. Because our leaders tell us that anyone who confesses Jesus is a born again Christian. But I see an awful lot of born-again Christians who are raping and killing and committing horrible abuses. Hell, I see a lot of *pastors* who do all of those things.

And I think it was Jesus who said, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing. You…

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What Arizona’s “Religious Freedom” Bill Really Means

A bill has passed in Arizona to allow a business owner to refuse products or services to anyone due to their deeply held religious beliefs. An example of this bill in action would be a baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. In a state like Oregon, the gay couple could sue the bakery and would probably win on grounds of discrimination (This scenario has already occurred). In Arizona, the bakery has the right to deny their services under this new law. The bill has not been signed into law at the time of this writing, so it may not become a reality. But, I have a major problem with this bill for many reasons and from different perspectives. [UPDATE: Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill on February 26, 2014.]

1. Religious Freedom

The major point of this bill is that business owners will cite their religious freedom as reason for denying products or services. But is this really what religious freedom is? In the United States, the First Amendment states,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

There is no established religion in the United States, and this makes it clear that would be a violation of the Constitution. Likewise, there is no prohibition of the free exercise of whatever religion one chooses to follow. But how does this work in the real world? Clearly, the United States has had to deal with the issue of “free exercise” many times since our country’s founding.

In the U.S. Supreme Court case, Reynolds v. United States in 1878, the courts were deciding on the issue of polygamy. Does religion supersede the law of the land? Can a man be legally married to multiple women because his religion says it is permitted, even though the law states there are to be only two parties in a legally binding marriage? Ultimately, they decided this was not the case. People are free to religious opinion and belief, but still have to obey the laws. Chief Justice Waite wrote in his opinion on the case,

Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. [...] Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and, in effect, to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances.

There are laws in the United States that protect discrimination, but not always for LGBT people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Twenty-one states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Oregon has laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which is why the bakery lost their case. Arizona, however, has no laws protecting LGBT people. This new bill makes it even harder to protect the rights of LGBT people. 

Is a Christian businessperson serving an openly gay person in a business a violation of religious freedom? I do not believe it is. That gay person is not stopping the Christian businessperson from practicing their faith. That gay person is not telling the Christian businessperson to stop being a Christian. They are simply requesting a product or service. It is the duty of the Christian businessperson to offer their product or service to anyone who walks through their door. If they deny products or services without just cause, it is discrimination.

2. What would Jesus do?

Another thing that baffles me is the fact that these are primarily Christians supporting this law. Why are they supporting it? They feel that people should be free to practice their religion however they choose and if it means denying service to a gay person, then they should be free to do so. But would Jesus do that? It’s very clear from his life that he would not.

When Jesus fed the 5,000, he did not pick and choose who would get fed. He fed everyone who was there. It was his disciples who wanted to send the people away, but Jesus told them “No, we will feed them. They are hungry.”

When Jesus encountered the Samaritan women, he made a statement by interacting with her at all because at the time, Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritans. He didn’t turn away from her because of who she was; he embraced her.

Jesus had nothing stopping him from giving to anyone who needed anything from him. It was the Pharisees who did that. Simply put, the lawmakers who voted to pass this bill in Arizona are equivalent to the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.

3. What does the Bible say?

If the life of Jesus wasn’t convincing enough, what about the Bible in general? Is there anything in the Bible to support this type of action by Arizona lawmakers?

Be hospitable to one another without complaining.

1 Peter 4:9 (HCSB)

How can one be hospitable when one refuses to provide products or services to another? Are they not complaining about the other person in their dismissal of their worthiness to receive products and services?

My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

- James 2:1 (NLT)

There is clear favoritism if Christians are giving products and services to some people, but not to others. This is the complete opposite of what Jesus taught his disciples during his life.

(But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?

1 Corinthians 10:28-30 (NLT)

This goes the other way, too. There are plenty of LGBT Christians out there, so why should their freedom be limited by what these Arizona lawmakers think? As my friend Linda pointed out, “Every individual has the right to decide for his/herself what their own conscience gives them the freedom to do. We cannot be another person’s Holy Spirit, deciding for another how they must live their life.”

4. What is the line?

This point is completely hypothetical. But it makes one wonder, what is the line? Who decides what is a “deeply held religious belief” and if it is worthy to use in a discrimination case? Does this apply to anything a religious person deems unacceptable by their beliefs? Would a restaurant refuse service if they found out the couple were adulterous? Can a donut shop refuse to serve their sweet treats to an overweight person? Or is it just LGBT people this law applies to? If so, how far does that go? Can a doctor refuse to administer medicine to a gay person? Can a manager at a fast food joint refuse service to two women who may not be gay but are simply assumed so? Will non-Christian business owners start turning away Christians and get away with it for the same rule?

This entire situation is disheartening. I pray that this bill does not get signed into law. It is a step in the wrong direction, and brings back “separate but equal” style ideals. No one wants to go back there.