Happy Birthday, US of A!

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Tomorrow, the US of A celebrates its 239th birthday.

It was, like with any birth, one that was born out of travail, crying, shouts of glee, bloodshed and even death. Truly the continent was in heavy labor as the push and screams of thousands were heard around the world.

That sorrow and agony gave way, however, to jubilation as the nation emerged scathed and covered with the scars and trappings of nativity. But as difficult as that birth was, the struggle was not over.

There would be growing pains, illnesses and diseases to overcome. There would be those who would attempt to reclaim and to destroy that life which was born out of a pledge to devote honor, lives and fortunes to see this epic birth come to be and last through all time.

Through the years, as with any baby maturing to toddler to child to teen to adult, this great nation of states joined to form a “more perfect union” had to go through its share of perils, tests and trials. In each instance, in the end, the US of A emerged on the other side a better nation.

The most trying time is undisputed which is what occurred during what I would call the teenage years, puberty, when literally brother was pitted against brother, sister against sister, sons and daughters against mothers and fathers. The greatest and most costly toll of lives and bloodshed threatened to tear the nation apart. Yet through the trauma of the Civil War, the War Between the States, a united and stronger country came of age.

Dark days still lay ahead, but it seemed the worst had passed.

Through more battles and more wars, we find ourselves today celebrating the nation we’ve become and feeling the pain of the mistakes we have made. We honor the lives who gave their all to keep this nation the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Now, we look forward to the days and years ahead.

We are traveling the rough and choppy sea of economic uncertainty, but which seems to be slowly recovering.

The ship of state must traverse the gulf as the skipper maneuvers the ship to avoid crashing on the rocks of lost hope, despair, keeping an eye on the course and the port of serenity which lies in the distance.

The tides of global unrest threaten to engulf us. We must stay resolute and strong. Together we can ride the waves and dock in safe harbor.

Many have lost hope.

Many no longer aspire to the American Dream.

Many wonder if the flag will still wave for much longer.

But we are Americans.

We will survive.

From the Cornfield, America, may she always be that shining city on a hill to which others seek to aspire.

Happy Independence Day!

Middle Ground – Marriage Equality & Religious Freedom

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We – humans – have a bad habit of making problems or creating issues where there are none.

Following last weeks decision by the US Supreme Court that all legal-aged couples, without regard to the gender of the parties, has a constitutional right to dignity and to apply and receive a license to have their long-term relationship recognized by the state with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that entails, to the right and to the left there were battle cries.

On the right among social conservatives, there was the call to rally the troops to protect religious liberty – even though the Supreme Court majority did not abridge religious liberty in any way.

On the left among social liberals (primarily in the GLBT community) a siren call went out to form the lines to force religious organizations to put their “sincerely held religious beliefs on the shelf or you hate me and are a bigot and violate my right to marry.” This even though the Supremes in no way gave any right or mandate to the GLBT and their supporters to demand religious bodies to abridge their freedom of free exercise guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

This whole mess is man-made ridiculousness.

There is a simple solution, one which I have advocated for years. Those who read or follow my dribble will recognize this simple solution from my Principles Which I Carry Over, which I have posted for the world to see for the past few years.

To quote:

Same-gender relationships should be afforded the benefit of state blessing just as opposite-gender relationships now are. There is no reason to complicate or not allow equality under the law with all the benefits and protections afforded opposite-gender couples over the use of a word on the state license. Best option is that all state licenses use the term civil union on all state documents. Let the couples have a “marriage” privately within the framework of their religious institutions or according to their moral view. All couples, whether same-gender or opposite-gender, should be afforded the same rights and benefits under the law when receiving a license to recognize the joining of the two individuals legally.

To put it more simply, the Justices upheld that states must recognize all legal-aged, consenting couples right to wed. The Justices did not take away the states rights to regulate marriage in several areas.

States still determine the age of majority and at what age minors must get parental consent.

States still determine how closely related by blood couples may wed.

States still determine residency requirements to obtain a license.

States still determine who may issue licenses.

States still determine who officiates marriages.

On the last issue, states deciding who can and can’t perform ceremonies – this is the solution.

For “official” state recognition in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, all exchange of vows must be conducted by a civil servant acting in a secular role as an agent of the state.

Those who wish to have a religious ceremony can plan, can spend, can be as lavish as their church allows, but after the official, civil ceremony. Same-gender couples can do the same, but would have to find a church or religious body which agrees that God blesses both gay and straight.

There would then be no assault of religious freedom. There would be no cause for some to try and make a “federal case” by entrapping some preacher in the cross hairs.

From the Cornfield, as a man, who happens to be married legally to another man (at least for the moment), there is middle ground. There is a path we can walk which gives respect for those who agree and those who disagree that all couples should be equal under the Constitution when it comes to state (which is secular) recognition of ones vow to love and to hold.