Today’s letter – let the men marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Yesterday I proposed that you recognize the boundaries of the old-testament admonishment against homosexuality by letting lesbian couples get married. But the bible actually says men are superior:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:12

So gay male couples are naturally superior to couples where a woman is involved. Why would you want to discourage – through banning marriage – these more perfect unions?

So why not let gay male couples wed? That wouldn’t tread on these religious decrees, but it would get us half-way closer to bringing the freedom to marry to everybody who wants it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let the women wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The people who are upset because I want to get married keep pointing to the Bible as justification for their intolerance.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

So why not let lesbian couples wed? That wouldn’t tread on these religious decrees, but it would get us half-way closer to bringing the freedom to marry to everybody who wants it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Leviticus or Sermon on the Mount?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Somebody asked me the other day who the gays want for President. Hillary Clinton has been the long-time favorite because of her support of New Yorkers at pride events and legislation to help stop AIDS.

I think the gays should look seriously at a different contender. Senator Obama has elegantly differentiated himself from Senator Clinton by directly addressing the problem of the religious divide in this country. He has also differentiated himself from Senator McCain by trying to heal that divide instead of exploiting it.

There is one theme in the Senator’s speeches that has resurfaced again and again, that we are a religious nation, but we embrace tolerance and inclusion, not hatred and violence.

On June 28, 2006, the Senator asked “which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?”

During the HRC/Logo debate on August 20 of last year. Senator Obama said “There are people who recognize that if we’re going to talk about justice and civil rights and fairness, that should apply to all people, not just some. And there are some folks who coming out of the church elevated one line in Romans above the Sermon on the Mount. … It is unfortunate. It’s got to stop.”

That, Governor, is the kind of leadership that transcends party lines; it means Senator Obama “gets it.” It is what I would expect to hear from Kennedy, Carter or Lincoln.

I wish I could hear it from you. Please, Governor, lead the people away from divisive politics, and ask them to stop blocking same-sex couples from marriage. We need more Lincolns.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Leviticus bans Sex, not Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Bible Week continues with a clarification of Leviticus. The old-testament passage says “[a man] shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” On the surface, this seems pretty damming, but anybody who reads the bible with more care than they give the Recycler knows that this is nothing about gay marriage or same-sex relationships, and certainly not an appropriate guide for public policy.

As a gay dad, I differ from the biblical scholars who dwell on issues of context and applications to temple prostitution and pagan ritual. Instead, I recognize that to “lie with” anybody – man or woman – the way it is said in Leviticus is wrong. That’s adultery, prostitution, promiscuity and a bunch of other things.

God begins Leviticus 18 saying “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.” and then goes on to list other “abominations” practiced by the Canaanites, such as eating pork (11:7) or seafood (11:9), planting mingled seeds (19:19) or wearing polycotton blends (19:19).

Nowhere – and conspicuously nowhere – does He endorse heterosexual relationships or ban homosexual ones.

This is consistent with Genesis and the rest of the bible where we are taught that God created partnerships for the purposes of companionship, not to exclude gay people.

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

As long as man can debate what the Old Testament says about homosexuality, we need to use a higher standard for deciding public policy, such as freedom and liberty. Please reconsider your admonishment of same-sex relationships and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Condemn the correct sin

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Your public policy on gay marriage hinges on a condemnation of gay sex, which of course comes from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The story goes that God destroyed the two cities because of the immoralities of the residents, and because the writings of some Dark Ages monks, “the sin of Sodomy” has become synonymous with any sexual liaison that is not stick+hole=baby.

Unfortunately for that policy, anybody who reads the Bible with more attention than they pay to the Sudoku puzzle in their Sunday paper knows that God’s destruction of the city (Genesis 18:20) has nothing to do with the part where the men attempt to rape the angels (Genesis 19:9), which was merely an act of barbaric punishment by rape – not homosexuality.

Ezekiel 16 lists the many sins of these people – and homosexuality is not one of them.

“”Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49 (American Standard)

In 2003 the United States Supreme Court invalidated Sodomy laws as being an unconstitutional violation of privacy. In 2005 and 2007 the California Legislature sought to invalidate the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage as an unconstitutional violation of religious tolerance, privacy and freedom. You sided with the sodophyles and vetoed those bills.

When you have abundant food and careless ease, the least you could do is help same-sex couples achieve the access to same laws and opportunities as everybody else. It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is not too late for you to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Adam should not be alone

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Your public policy on gay marriage seems to have all started with Adam and Eve. This original couple started out clinging together and was later told by God that they were married and to “go forth and multiply.”

This relationship has been carried to an extreme in order to specially exclude homosexual couples from society and, in particular, marriage. This has gone on for so long that those opposed to my marriage carry signs that say “God made Adam and Eve – Not Adam and Steve!” The reasoning is twofold: first, Adam and Eve were created to procreate, and second, since God didn’t make a gay couple, God forbids gay relationships. Of course, anybody who actually reads Genesis with more care than they read a t-shirt gets a different view.

For the first point, God’s first stated reason for marriage was companionship, not procreation. God said:

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

Thus He created Eve for Adam. Procreation was bonus, since at the time they didn’t have sperm banks or in vitro clinics.

The second point, just because God happened to made a man and a woman first doesn’t mean anything about couples after that. Adam and Eve didn’t make grandparents or bellybuttons, but I don’t see bumper stickers about that. What really makes this argument folly is that God did make at least one gay couple – me and my partner – and thus the argument of God’s Perfect Template falls apart.

So the next time you get a letter from a constituent saying Adam and Steve should be kept apart, remember Adam and Eve, and God’s message of companionship and commitment. Then support the freedom to marry for all God’s children.

Yours,

Today’s letter – either the Church or Galileo is wrong

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Since the public policy banning my marriage is based on the teachings of the Catholic Church, it would be prudent to take a moment to examine the credentials of the teacher.

In 1633, The Vatican said that the sun (and everything else) orbits the Earth. Galileo Galilei claimed that the Earth orbited the sun. Observation v. Bible went on trial, and Galileo was found guilty of contradicting God’s word. He was forced to renounce his findings, excommunicated and placed under house arrest until his death.

It took centuries for fact to overtake fiction, and in 1993, Pope John Paul II finally conceded that Galileo was right: the Earth really did orbit the sun, and the Church was wrong.

I was astonished to learn that the current pope, Benedict XVI, is on a tear to once again condemn Galileo for daring to use facts to question the authority of the Church. This kind of blatant disregard for the brains God gave us makes me question all of the Church’s teachings; when you start to unravel them, it’s not a pretty sight.

I was taught that the universe revolves around God, not Mr. XVI. I was taught to treat others as I like to be treated myself. I was taught to pursue truth and not power. If anything I’ve been taught is true, the Catholic Church is dangerously far from God, and their treatment of Galileo – and me – proves that.

Please, Governor, use the brains God gave you and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Paul was against everything, except Commitment

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Since the Bible is the foundation everybody turns to when they try to justify the special ban on same-sex marriages, it would be a good idea for you to know what the Bible actually says about homosexuality, and in particular, same-sex relationships.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:26-27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet,”

The usual argument to this is that Paul was against everything. For instance, he wrote in Timothy 2:9, that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” I’m sure your wife Maria would take issue with this admonition if it were to become public policy.

Others point out that Paul was commenting not on homosexual couples but the pagan practice of “fertilizing” castrated galli priests as surrogates of the fertility goddess, a weird way of worshiping a false idol, which actually was one of those ten commandment thingies.

As a gay dad, I have a different take on this. I like and love my life partner. We are a couple. Paul wasn’t talking about us, he was talking about people like Larry Craig and Ted Haggart, who turned away from their partners to pursue lust towards others.

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

As long as man can debate what the Bible says about homosexuality, we need to use a higher standard for deciding public policy, such as freedom and liberty, or even the ten commandments. Please reconsider your admonishment of same-sex relationships and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Salvation Army Undermines World AIDS Effort

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an awful disease. Government is not doing enough, and the religious are doing even less.

The US branch of the Salvation Army ignores this day to ring bells in suburbia. They divert money from direct aid in order to block the only things that are shown to stop the disease: needle exchange, condoms, and commitments like same-sex marriage. They use the excuse of religion to pick and choose who they help – reserving food baskets and employee health care for people who meet their myopic definition of family.

Money can not “do the most good” when it is dispensed with an agenda influenced not by compassion but by judgment. Nobody can help people when they hate them.

I wish you would say something this holiday season about how the Salvation Army is undermining the fight against AIDS with its old-testament evangelical superstitiously-based policies. The Salvation Army may be entitled to their beliefs, but Californians deserve to know what beliefs they are funding.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Do Good Work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like many Californians, I’m not profoundly religious, and the Bible is a big puzzle. So I rely on people of faith to help me interpret that book.

The Most Reverend Jefferts Schori, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, told a congregation confused about the role of homosexuality in scripture that “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Sit there and throw words at each other,’ He said, ‘Get out there and heal the sick and help the poor.’ “

You know, she is right. You don’t get into heaven by punishing people here on earth. You get there by helping them.

I wish you and your Government would help couples like us get married, instead of punishing us for doing nothing wrong. Then you could focus on your budget and the churches could concentrate on helping people.

Yours,