Marriage Musings

I was listening to Catholic Answers on traditional marriage on the way home from work today, when something hit me. When we approach the discussion, there seems to be an unspoken assumption that men and women are indistinguishable, that a mother or father in a child’s life is replaceable. Same sex couples should be able to adopt and raise children, because there’s no difference between their ability to be good parents and a heterosexual couple (so the assumption goes). I don’t think I’d really registered that before. And I don’t think I buy it. It’s the same crappy argument behind the sexual revolution and the fight for “women’s rights”: that the only way men and women can be equal is if they are identical, indistinguishable.

And as an aside, the debate on Catholic Answers was actually almost nonreligious: the only people bringing up religion were those supporting gay marriage. The more I learn about the topic, the more interesting it becomes!
A resource with 77 secular reasons against gay marriage, if you’re interested:
EDIT:  The link above says you need to buy it, but really you just have to go to the shop and “purchase” the free, downloadable copy.  It asks for your address and such though, so I’ll post the link here for anyone uncomfortable with that.

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Filed under Social Issues

Abortion in the Case of Rape


Lately, it seems that our candidates for U.S. Senate can’t seem to talk about this topic without saying something monumentally stupid.  It’s not that they’re creeps who hate women, it’s that they really struggle to talk about this sensitive topic in a way that doesn’t offend the entire universe.

However, I would like to point out that we all say stupid things from time to time, and that their words have been blown out of proportion in my opinion.  Each clarified their statement, and Akin apologized for the way his words came out.  The media, both social and regular, won’t let us move on from that though–once again sensational, entertainment wins out over actual news.

Akin clearly doesn’t know much about how women’s bodies work (and who can blame him? women often don’t understand how their bodies work), but I think what Mourdock was trying to say has merit.  At conception, a new human life is created.  It is a complete organism that directs its own development that shares some similarities with the mother, but is biologically different.  The only thing that changes between then and birth is the same thing that changes between a newborn and an adult: time, nutrients, and growth.  Nothing external is added to change this life from being not-human into human.

If you believe that God creates life, would you say that he ever does so accidentally?  That He ever does anything accidentally?  Of course not.  That God intentionally creates life has nothing to do with whether He intended the rape to occur.  Rather, given that the rape has already occurred, God takes a horrifying, terrible situation and brings something good out of it:  a new life.  And that is what I think Mourdock was trying to convey.

Everyone who talks about abortion being okay in the case of rape does a disservice to all women who have been raped.  This attitude says that the baby resulting from rape is repulsive to their own mothers, and that any woman who has been raped should have the option of aborting their child.  Almost 40% of all pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term.  Think about what the abortion in the case of rape mentality says to these women who choose to keep their child.  Women have enough trouble trying to defend against those who say they weren’t really raped, that they somehow wanted it.  If a woman keeps her baby resulting from the rape, the mentality suggests that maybe she wasn’t really raped.  After all, what rape victim would want to keep her rapists baby?

This mentality also harms every person who was conceived in rape.  When a pregnancy occurs following a rape, the resulting child is not just the rapist’s child as it is almost exclusively referred to.  It is also the woman’s child.  To say that abortion is okay in the case of rape is to say to every person living as the result of rape that their lives are worth less because of who their fathers were.  The punishment for rape isn’t death, so why is the punishment for the innocent child greater?

There’s an analogy that some people like to throw out to say that abortion should be legal in the case of rape.  It goes something like this:  Imagine that one night, someone breaks in and attaches you to another person through medical equipment, and if you detach yourself from them, they’ll die.  Is it unethical to pull the plug, therefore killing them?  The thought is that while it would be heroic of you to remain in that room attached to some stranger, it would not be legally necessary.  After all, you didn’t do anything to the person to cause them harm, and it’s not your fault they are attached to you.

I think this analogy needs to be altered:  Someone breaks in and steals your reproductive cells, which is a traumatic invasion of self.  Through some medical procedure, someone creates a baby that is biologically half yours.  After the baby (let’s say a girl, for pronoun ease)  is born, they discover that she needs to be attached to your bloodstream 24/7 for 9 months to cure the disease.  In the middle of the night, they break in and attach your baby girl to you, placing her in a sling along your front.  If you remove her, she will die.  You can still live out your life, but it is more difficult and you will be reminded of the invasion.  If you allow her to remain attached to you for 9 months, you will have the choice of keeping her or giving her to someone else.  Is it still okay to pull the plug on your daughter before the 9 months are up and let her die?

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Filed under Abortion, Election, Federal Issues, Rape, Social Issues

Let’s Talk Marriage

I mentioned in my last post that I oppose same-sex marriage for a whole host of reasons, so I figured now would be a good time to explain what exactly they are.  First, we need to make a distinction between civil marriages and religious ones.  See, if we’re talking about religious definitions of marriage, I’m definitely opposed.  But in America, we generally separate religion from law so long as no one gets hurt (and the Christian values of not murdering etc. also happen to be secular values).  So opposition to same-sex marriage really needs to be about more than what various religions say it should be.

Has anyone else noticed how everything seems to be a “right” these days?  We have a right to drive a car, own a house, and even governmental assistance on occasion.  But what people perceive as rights are often actually just privileges.  Not everyone can or should drive a car.  Beyond people who do stupid things, blind people can’t drive either.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Not everyone can afford a house, and there are plenty of other living situations that fulfill people’s needs just as well.

Nor is marriage a right.  Now, this isn’t just my belief.  Marriage has very careful boundaries, and even some heterosexuals are barred from marriage.  Every state has various laws barring certain relatives from getting married, though some are more strict than others (think Kentucky).  Now, why is that?  Mostly, because everyone thinks it’s icky.  But the chance of genetic deformities isn’t that high–just look at how the royal lines throughout history married.  Plenty of what we would consider incest.  But let’s say for a moment that it’s a high priority to ensure that no incestual children occur.  Even if a couple is sterilized, they’re still not allowed to marry if they’re related.  Additionally, we have defined marriage to be between two people and no more.  Polygamy has a history of abuse, but it seems possible that three people could really and truly love each other without that sort of abuse.  Yet, they are still barred from marriage.

So, what is the purpose of marriage in the civil sense?  Surely it isn’t about recognizing a loving relationship between two people, because that’s just nonsense.  What right (or really need/want) does government have to go about judging people’s relationships?  If civil marriage was about recognizing love, then the aforementioned cases shouldn’t be banned.  But, that would be ridiculous.  We don’t get certificates for having committed friendships.  Civil marriage has to be about more than just recognizing love, otherwise we should just get rid of it altogether.

If the purpose of civil marriage isn’t to recognize love, what is its purpose?  After all, there are a number of financial benefits for marriage, which means that it’s costing the government money.  There needs to be a pretty good reason for the government to offer that, some benefit that marriage gives back to society as a whole.  Procreation seems like a pretty obvious answer, especially if you look at the laws that govern marriage.  And it is in the best interest of the government that procreation occur (if the rate is debatable), because otherwise we’ll all die out.  And children raised in optimal settings will decrease costs for government in the long run, so it makes sense that government would seek to promote optimal settings.

If we take that view of the purpose of civil marriage, then same-sex marriage doesn’t make sense.  Homosexual relationships aren’t ordered toward procreation.  That’s not to say they can’t raise families, but they’re just not ordered towards it.  Now, not every heterosexual couple is capable or even interested in raising a family.  But I think most are, and infertility is difficult to legislate out of marriage simply because it would be too taxing to prove.

And we’re talking about optimal settings for raising children.  Having a mother and a father provides a child with constant role models of either gender.  This isn’t to say that homosexual couples or single parents can’t raise children well because they can.  But there seems little reason for government to promote these arrangements.

So we’re left with two options:  remove all the benefits and legal recognition of marriage (because why is the government passing judgement on love?) or strengthen marriage as currently defined.  The first wouldn’t be difficult to do.  Make taxing apply to everyone equally (maybe keep some incentive for anyone with children, regardless of marriage) and then for other benefits allow them to be applied to one person of their choice.  This would apply that benefit to everyone, eliminating any kind of discrimination.  People who still wanted to commit themselves to another could have their own, non-legal ceremonies at a church or wherever (for those who are non-religious).

Or, strengthen marriage.  Too often today, marriage is seen as temporary or just not taken seriously.  If a person is going to receive benefits for being married, that carries some responsibility.  You shouldn’t be able to just wake up one day and decide to get married.  Marriage isn’t easy, so getting married shouldn’t be either.  Some sort of waiting period and mandatory premarital counseling seems appropriate.  Maybe if people took marriage more seriously there would be fewer divorces.

Personally, when it comes to the legal definition I’m not picky about which way we go.  But the state needs a darned good reason to be involved in marriage, and if it wants to offer benefits that turns marriage from a right to a privilege.  Love whomever you want.  Just don’t expect the government to pass judgement on your relationship.

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Filed under Social Issues

I’m Having Dinner at Chick-fil-A

Tonight, I shall be going to Chick-fil-A.  Now, this isn’t generally a restaurant I would frequent (because I try to avoid fast food in general), but today is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.

Recently, the CEO of Chick-fil-A affirmed his beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and it was revealed that the philanthropic arm of Chick-fil-A gives to organizations that lobby against same-sex marriage.  Some people are boycotting Chick-fil-A for this reason.  Now, that’s fine.  I don’t have a problem with people choosing to spend their money elsewhere if they do not support a company’s decision to donate money to causes they don’t support–though I will point out that pro-life people who do that (I’m not one of them) are often ridiculed for doing the same thing.  But that’s really moot.

The reason I’m participating in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day is in protest of people taking things too far.  I believe that Chick-fil-A has the right to decide to support the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman if they so choose.  That’s their business.  However, city officials in Boston and Chicago have stated publicly that they will do whatever they can to stop Chick-fil-A to open new restaurants in their cities because they do not support the values being expressed by Chick-fil-A.

Wait, what?  Do Boston and Chicago have a nice, publicized list of the cities’ values for everyone to see, and do they kick out everyone who doesn’t agree with those values?  That’s just crazy.  Chick-fil-A is a private company for crying out loud.  If they’re poisoning people that’s one thing, but opposition to gay marriage should not prevent them from being allowed to open a restaurant.

Now, I’m not in favor of same-sex marriage for a whole host of reasons.  But let’s be clear:  being anti-gay marriage does not necessarily mean anti-gay.  Nor is someone a bad person just because they don’t agree with everything you believe.  There’s plenty of discussion to be had on the subject (and not all of it religion-based), but trying to kick a private company out of cities for something they support is just silly.

So, tonight it’s Chick-fil-A chicken.  Anyone gonna join me?

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Filed under 1st Amendment

Dear Congressman

Congressman Rokita,

First of all, thank you for your service to the state of Indiana. I know it is not easy to balance representing your district with enacting good policy, and I thank you for your work as a public official. I am especially glad that you have stood up for life in the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, I’m severely disappointed in the recent antics of House Republicans in repeatedly holding wasteful votes to repeal Obamacare. While clearly this is a terrible piece of legislation, repealing it isn’t going to go anywhere as long as the Democrats hold the Senate. Any votes taken to try until the Republicans gain the Senate and possibly the Presidency is simply wasting taxpayer money and completely irresponsible.

I just graduated college and was actively involved with the College Republicans. Among young people, there is a perception that the Republican party is outdated and irrelevent to their lives. While this is obviously not true, such antics which have been seen in Congress led by Republicans has given us little to defend our position. This is truly disappointing for the next generation of Republicans.

As I said before, the Affordable Care Act is clearly bad legislation and many parts of it should be replaced. Instead of simply repealing it, however, it would be nice if the House Republicans would offer some of their own suggestions that would actually do something to make our healthcare system better. I’m not saying some grand overhaul–at this point anything productive would be an improvement. I recently read an article on the Atlantic that provided some intriguing possibilities. While I’m not suggesting all of them are worthy of legislation, I believe they would be worth looking at as a starting point for positive discussion. The article can be found here:

I sincerely hope you will give my suggestion consideration, and if nothing else that the House Republicans will consider positive solutions to fixing ACA without wasting more taxpayer money. Republican supporters across the country worked hard to create a Republican majority in the House–let’s not waste this opportunity.

Thank you for reading,
Aurora Dreyling

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Filed under Federal Issues

The Supreme Court Ruling

I have a problem with the recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the health care law passed in 2010.  First, obviously health care needs to be reformed.  And there were some good things to come out of the law that was passed.  But as a whole, I don’t believe it is good policy, nor am I persuaded by the Supreme Court’s arguments.

First, the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts stated that for the purposes of the Anti Injuction Act, the penalty for not obtaining health care (the individual mandate) was not considered a tax; rather, it’s a penalty imposed on those who do not comply.  However, to uphold the constitutionality of the mandate, he stated that since it functioned as a tax, it fell under Congress’s power to tax.  Excuse me?  I mean, yes, he explained that since the AIA is a statute passed by Congress, by saying penalty in the health care law they clearly did not intend for it to be considered a tax as applied to the AIA.  But those two statements together just sound ridiculous.
More importantly, however, the Supreme Court just told Congress they can tax us for anything.  Literally.  Generally taxes apply to activities that are actively participated in.  Earning income, purchasing goods, etc.  However, now you can be taxed simply by existing.  And this could have problems down the road.  What’s to stop Congress from taxing everyone that doesn’t belong to a gym?  Exercise is clearly good for your health and could save the country millions if Americans were more active.  Yes, other options exist to lead a healthy lifestyle (much as there are options to health insurance that don’t burden others–ever hear of health savings accounts or the Healthy Indiana Plan?), but joining a gym could be argued as the best way to provide this need for all Americans.  After all, gyms offer a wide variety of equipment that allow members to cross train in a variety of cardio activities, offer special classes, and have weight-lifting equipment.  Or, what about requiring us to shop at certain health food stores or purchase shares in Community Supported Agriculture co-ops?  After all, Americans eat terribly and don’t get enough fruits/vegetables.  This too would make us all healthier and create less burden on the health care system.
I’m not usually one to freak out about all the freedoms we’re losing and big government turning into big brother.  I generally become suspicious anytime someone accuses a Democrat of being socialist, because they’re generally overreacting and trying to scare others with crazy rhetoric.  But with this new decision by the Supreme Court, I’m left to wonder.  The United States was built on the ideals of freedom: to make your own decisions about how you wanted to live your life.

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Filed under Federal Issues

Post Office Shenanigans

It all started out when Amazon Local (if you don’t know about it, gogogo!  Is like Groupon or LivingSocial) ran a voucher for $20 off a refurbished Kindle, bringing the price down to $49.  I’d been considering getting a Kindle, but since I have an iPad didn’t see a need for it.  The price convinced me though, and I ordered one that day.  Unfortunately, having just moved, I forgot to double check the address.  Off it went to Speedway.  I didn’t catch my mistake immediately, and by the time I did Amazon had already shipped it.

So, I called Amazon and explained my silliness.  The Amazon dude said he’d call the post office and see if they could ship it back to Amazon.  Meanwhile, he said he’d put a $20 credit on my account so I could reorder a new one to my correct address without losing the value of my voucher.

Late the next day, I tracked my package to make sure he’d managed to cancel its delivery when the tracking thing said it had been delivered.  It was too late to call the post office, but the next day I spent a considerable amount of time trying to do that.  The local post office never answered, despite many calls.  I called their toll-free number and eventually made my way through the menus to talk to an actual person.  They tracked my package and said that it had already been delivered.  I explained that I had recently moved and submitted a change of address card, and that no one lived there.  They informed me that they delivered to addresses and not names, so my change of address card didn’t matter.  My only option apparently was to go to the apartment and see if it was outside the door.

Well, I live an hour and a half from my old address, but I called the office of the apartment complex and explained the situation.  They said they’d send someone to check and assured me that no one lived in my old apartment, so no one could have accepted it.  They checked both the mailbox and the hall, but no package.  I assumed it had been lost or stolen.

Frustrated, I decided to call Amazon and let them know what had happened so they would be more cautious about using USPS in the future.  They quickly assured me that they would send me a new Kindle to my new address.  I gave them my new address, in awe of Amazon’s awesomeness, and it arrived at my door less than 24 hours later.  All had been righted, and I love my new Kindle.

So that should be the end of the story, right?  Except in the middle of the next week, I opened my mailbox to find my original Kindle with a yellow forwarding slip.  They had already delivered it, huh?  Apparently when they said delivered they meant forwarded to my new address.  Sigh.  So, I called Amazon to get a shipping label so I could return the second Kindle.  They’d been so kind and helpful with my problem, it only seemed appropriate to return the Kindle I hadn’t paid for.

And so ends my saga (hopefully).  Moral of the story:  USPS has a terrible tracking system!!

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