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Where I chime in on the hot-button issues of the day

by John on July 4th, 2015

There is a LOT in the news these days. And, well, I think it’s about time I shared my two cents with everything that’s happening.

The Confederate Flag
After the senseless shooting of nine individuals at a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina, there is a lot talk of banning the Battle Flag of North Virginia from flying over public places. Many major retailers have stopped selling said flags. Heck NASCAR has even asked its patrons to not display said symbols.

Now, I fully support an individual’s right to fly/display/wear-as-a-toga any flag. This is a pretty cut-and-dry free-speech issue. And, while I may think anyone displaying this flag (or, really, any flag – the Nazi flag, the ISIS flag, the Rhodesian flag) is, at best, an ignorant jerk – but, more likely, a racist traitor to my nation, that doesn’t mean that they should be suspended of said right.

But, let’s go to NASCAR for a moment — because I’ve heard a LOT about NASCAR trying to “censor” its fans. It’s doing no such thing. NASCAR events are not open events, you need a ticket in order to get in, meaning it’s private . . . whoever is holding a private event can make the rules for their event. Enforcing those rules is not censorship. If the government says that you can’t fly the flag? That is censorship. I do believe that any organization receiving public funding should be prohibited from flying / displaying said flag outside of a purely historical context (e.g. a museum display).

To anyone who believes that I’m misguided in my thoughts here – how is the display of this flag not a traitorous act? If it’s truly a symbol of “The South” and not “of racism,” if the Civil War were truly about “states rights” and not slavery (and it was about the states rights to maintain slavery), how does that change the fact that the flag is a symbol of not wanting to be a part of America? People who fly the stars & bars next to the American flag perplex me.

Gay Marriage
The Supreme Court recently passed a decision that any state law prohibiting two people of the same sex from getting married is unconstitutional. I applaud this – I believe government has no place in dictating how people should lead their lives, as long as the way a person leads his/her life does not impede on the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of another.

I try to place myself into the turn of the last century, when pillars of the community were giving impassioned arguments about why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I try to place myself in the middle of such discussions, to think that someone so misguided as to the change of our nation’s direction isn’t necessarily a bigot — but I can’t.

However, I find myself the organist of an orthodox church – an organization which, absolutely, believes that the supreme court got things wrong here. They will not be blessing same sex unions at any time in the future. Leviticus spells it out pretty straightforward:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
– Leviticus 20:13

But, why are we picking and choosing bible passages to follow to the letter of the law?

You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.
– Levitus 19

For anyone with a religious objection to the allowing of same-sex unions (and I’d argue that two men cannot lay “as man and woman” because the angles are somewhat different . . . and I see nothing prohibiting sex between two females), why do we focus on this passage and not care that most all clothing sold these days has a mixture of cloth?

Race relations
There have been some tremendous incidents in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, and Baltimore over the past several months. In each case, an unarmed black male was killed by the police. In each case, demonstrations have turned violent. To try to put some perspective on this, I’m going to talk about the whitest movie I can think of: A Christmas Story. Ralphie is picked on by Scott Farkus, time and time again. It sucks, and he just runs away, feeling minimized with his dignity removed – but, for the most part, he ends up unscathed. But, one day, he’s simply “had too much” and beats the everliving shit out of Scott Farkus. I’ve never heard a fan of the movie talk about “violence isn’t the answer” or “Ralphie should have been in jail.” Everyone cheers for the kid “standing up” to the bully in the only way he could. And, well, I can say that violence isn’t the answer – that bringing about violence in a tense situation makes things worse. But, I’ve never been frisked just because “I might be up to something.” I’ve never been arrested because I “fit a description”. I can see systematic mistreatment of a population simply ruin relations between “the authorities” and said population . . . I think it’s happened in each of these instances, and think talk of “criminal behavior of citizens” without addressing police behavior & neighborhood/police relations is causing far more harm than good.
Recently, rounds have been made about adding peas to guacamole — in theory, they add a wonderful sweet accent while proving to be a “color stabilizer” that will keep guacamole green after a few hours. My take? Try it, and if you like it, bully for you. Seriously – I don’t think there is anything gained in being a “food purist”. That said, the best guacamole I’ve ever had was made with an avocado & a series of spices, mixed on a beach in Mexico. The guacamole that I’ll be making today will include avocado, jalapeno, onion, tomato, garlic, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice. I’ve been working on the recipe for years – it’s how I like it. Sweet and spicy has never really done it for me.

(Note, I’ll be back to boob references & thickly-veined thinly-veiled dick jokes in the near future)

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