MN AU for Separation of Church and State

I am working with a group of people to form a Minnesota chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:  it’s a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. Founded in 1947, AU is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization based in Washington, D.C., that addresses issues such as religion in government and public schools, religious discrimination and free exercise, and reproductive and marriage rights. There are over 60 local chapters, but there is not yet one in Minnesota. We are starting one (in part) as a response to the MN Marriage Amendment, which we consider to be an unconstitutional entanglement of Church and State.

The first meeting of members of this chapter-in-formation will be on Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. at the Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave. S., Edina, second floor, Ethel Berry room. Come on over, we’d love to hear your views.

Check out the flyer!

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MN Marriage Amendment: hypocrisy

 

Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul...

Thank you, Gov. Dayton. It COULD be this easy if the Legislature chose to drop the “Bradlee Dean Amendment”, and we would save the state of Minnesota millions of dollars and lots of vitriol.

Odds of that happening are pretty small, though.

The actions of the Legislature need to reflect the reality of the culture and population they affect. It is ironic that Ms. Koch now has to experience, through her poor choices, the kind of under-the-microscope analysis and judgement of her personal life that the Legislature is imposing on other Minnesotans via the Marriage Amendment. There are people here in MN who would be ecstatically happy with the chance to experience the union of love, fidelity and rights that she has seen fit to treat with disrespect in her own life.

I am sure that there are many couples here in MN who would treat the institution of marriage with far more reverence than Ms. Koch has: I know many of them. It is painful to realize that thanks to her actions, the Legislature is trying to deny them the chance.

This is an opportunity for the Legislature to do the right thing, get on the right side of history, and seize the opportunity to increase equality in our state instead of trying to decrease it.

Oh if we could all just get along…

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Ping!

Oh why can’t we just let people of all religions believe what they want?  Why do you atheists insist on picking fights and disturbing the peace when everyone just wants to believe what they wish and live their lives in peace, free from criticism?  Why are you atheists so confrontational and just plain angry?

If only it were that simple, or if that statement were at all true.

If everyone held their own beliefs, and could have rational, non-screaming discussions about them, could listen to other sets of beliefs and points of view without condemning every disbeliever (in their faith) to eternal damnation… and most importantly, refrain from continued attempts to impose their beliefs on everyone else in the world, we would all get along just swimmingly.  But no: every other day you hear about people using their faith to justify imposing laws and rules on everyone, regardless of whether the law has a beneficial secular purpose that is independent of the religious belief behind it.

You see, they don’t want to leave you alone in the first place: not while you believe things that are different, and while they can stir things up by trying to create laws that impose their beliefs on everyone, not just the members of their faith.  And as long as they insist on trying to force their religious beliefs on everyone, they’re the ones picking the fight.

Case in point: Minnesota’s Catholic Bishops Want to Run Your Sex Life

Stop meddling in the affairs, the relationships, the happiness, the love lives, the freedom of people who don’t believe in the same myths you do, and odds are they will return the courtesy.  But the problem arises when your beliefs aren’t designed to exist in the category marked “we’ll leave you alone if you let us have ours”: they’re designed to be imposed on everyone around you, by definition.  You can’t reconcile that with “let’s just all get along and let everyone believe what they want”, it doesn’t work that way.  You’re really saying “let’s just all compromise on living by my rules, then we can all be happy, right?”

No.

There are too many belief systems out there that depend on evangelizing, converting, meddling, interfering, imposing, disturbing, FORCING themselves onto everyone else: as long as these exist, then those suffering the proposed imposition have the right to complain, to be vociferous and angry, and to fight against it.  If that’s what being confrontational and angry means, then at least just have the honesty to admit it’s the same thing you would do if someone else’s beliefs were being imposed on you.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Archbishop Nienstadt

Archbishop Nienstadt: thank you for your opinion on what you consider “detrimental” to society. Allow me to respond by noting what I find truly detrimental to the peaceful, collaborative society I live in.

The society I inhabit depends on our ability to live together in harmony. This means I refrain from marginalizing any group of people simply because they are different, because they hold different beliefs, or because ancient texts force me to. That may be what society used to mean, decades and centuries ago, when we trusted religious authorities to inform us who God had told them we were supposed to hate. But we no longer live this way. If we intend to live together in unity and peace, we must recognize that we are all too different and living too closely together for the exclusionary attitudes of the Middle Ages to ever hold sway again. Good riddance.

This means we treat each other with respect, it means we don’t bully each other, it means we respect the rights of those who, historically, have had those rights trampled on, and we uphold human rights FOR ALL when they are under attack. It means we support each other, and it means we do not organize witchhunts to attack, discriminate and remove rights from people who are different.

It means we do not impose our religious visions on people who do not share them.

What I personally find “detrimental” to this society is bigoted and hateful attitudes towards my friends: wonderful people who have provided stability, friendship, love and support to my community for years. What I find “detrimental” is people spreading lies and divisiveness, particularly when they do so from an unwarranted position of authority, and “in the name of” someone who would most likely be disgusted at the hatred you promulgate as your interpretation of his message of love and compassion for EVERYONE. What I find “detrimental” to the society I live in is people who actively try to force it apart.

Archbishop Neinstadt: I don’t recognize you as a spiritual or moral leader, and with very good reason. You don’t speak for me, you don’t speak for my friends. My sincere hope is that you don’t speak for more than a small fraction of the people of Minnesota, the majority of whom I have found to be loving, caring and respectful, regardless of who they choose to love.

You have the right to hold an opinion and express it, despicable as many of us find it. I fully defend your right to do so, as I would expect you to defend my right to express my opinion on your views, which I trust you can infer. What I don’t defend, and in fact I will fight to defeat, is any and all work you do to impose your antiquated views of what is “detrimental” to society on those of us who have looked around and recognized the 21st century is already upon us.

Archbishop Neinstadt, you are free to recognize the 21st century, and this is your opportunity to do so. It does mean giving up your claims of absolute ownership of morality, but in any case that is ownership your organization long ago renounced any valid claim to. To mix and match metaphors a little: the beams in your eyes have been far too damaging to the glass houses you live in. A little humility in admitting that your organization’s “infallible” interpretations of your god’s will over the course of the past two thousand years have been… let’s just say “less than stellar”, might help you understand why you are wrong in this case too.

While my hope in this regard is not tinged with undue optimism, I would ask that you join the 21st century and work with the rest of us, enlightened Catholics and non-Catholics alike, in affirming basic civil rights for all. There can be nothing detrimental in a society in which we are all, each one of us, free to find happiness, stability and love with the partners that we choose; and furthermore, to know that our unions are granted the recognition, respect, and all appropriate rights necessary to promote the ongoing stability of our society.

With hope that you decide to judge less in the future, lest you yourself be judged, I remain (unfaithfully) yours.

-d