Tag Archives: Secularists

A comment about the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on gay marriage: Is it time to get government out of marriage

21 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement regarding their position on civil marriage:

American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Same Gender Civil Marriage

3/21/2013

For Release:  March 21, 2013

Article Body

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports civil marriage for same-gender couples – as well as full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation – as the best way to guarantee benefits and security for their children.

The AAP policy statement, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” and an accompanying technical report will be published in the April 2013 Pediatrics (published online March 21).

“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”

In a previous policy statement published in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2010, the AAP supported second-parent adoption by partners of the same sex as a way to protect children’s right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security. The 2013 policy statement and accompanying technical report adds recommendations in support of civil marriage for same-gender couples; adoption by single parents, co-parents or second parents regardless of sexual orientation; and foster care placement regardless of sexual orientation.

“The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the Academy’s support for families,” said Ellen Perrin, MD, FAAP, co-author of the policy statement. “If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it’s in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.”

A great deal of scientific research documents there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being, according to the AAP policy. In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.

According to the policy statement, the AAP “supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children.” 

# # #

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

This causes moi to ask whether it is time for government to get out of the business of marriage and only sanction civil unions for everyone. The government would define a valid civil union and the contractual benefits which flow from that union would be defined by government. Marriage would be defined by various religious institutions and they are free to marry whom they choose. Marriage would then be a two-step process of civil union and whatever ‘blessing’ ceremony the community of faith allowed.

This country is headed for another confrontation over the meaning of religious freedom and the guarantees of the FIRST AMENDMENT. Whether one agrees or not, some religious groups have a theological basis for defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. They are not going to change. So, the question is whether society wants to be tolerant and pragmatic or to punish those who are not politically correct. Moi has a Hallelujah moment for some in the gay community and their supporters – tolerance is different from acceptance. If the goal is to get everyone to accept a definition of marriage other than one man and one woman, you will fail. If the tactic is to demonize religious folk, call them bigots, prevent certain denominations from offering adoption services and foster care as well as go after church tax exemption, this can be done at great cost to the culture and society. Isn’t it time for a pragmatic approach?

Too often we forget that the principal purpose of the metaphorical wall of separation between church and state was always to prevent governmental interference with a religion’s decisions about what its own theology requires. . . . To be consistent with the Founders’ vision and coherent in modern religiously pluralistic America, the religion clauses [in the United States Constitution] should be read to help avoid tyranny — that is, to sustain and nurture the religions as independent centers of power. . . . To do that, the clauses must be interpreted to do more than protect the religions against explicit discrimination.

Stephen Carter

The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion

Moi discussed the secularist view in The great cultural divide: Many of us will never be secularists:

There are many folks who simply just don’t get that there are many people of faith. This faith group is of a variety of religions and a variety of theologies. Some “liberal” strands of faith have no theology or interpret their theology in line with contemporary social thought. They see religion as part of a wider social movement. For this group, there are no fixed theological positions because the emphasis of their faith is “social justice” however that is defined. Many in this secularist religion group simply do not understand that many of faith have a fixed theological perspective on religion. They feel that theology does not change because the cultural context has changed. In this group there are eternal positions because they are very cognizant of an eternal life. Moi thought the many attempts to persuade her by providing lists of people who support a particular position were laughable. People who made the lists or who thought because this prominent person or that prominent person supported a position would make moi and many others jump on board were clueless. What they did not realize is that moi and others, to paraphrase the old Righteous Brothers song “believe in forever.” It doesn’t matter how many people, whether they are prominent or not believe something, that doesn’t change the theological perspective. Many of these proponents do not believe in the Bible, that it is a stupid little book that only morons follow. Moi suggests that these secularists spend some time digesting the book of Daniel. People of a non-secularist faith are not morons and really don’t want to be treated as such. So, the question is how do various groups operate in the society were all have to live.  https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/the-great-cultural-divide-many-of-us-will-never-be-secularists/

As the character, Margo Channing said in All About Eve: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night! .

There should civil unions for society which establish the contractual relationships and government benefits of a union. Marriage should be defined by theological entities.

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The Whitney Kropp story: What’s wrong with teaching kids the ‘Golden Rule’????

30 Sep

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: At the core of bullying is a basic lack of respect for the individual who is being bullied, no matter the pretext for the bullying. The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

 

The Daily Mail has written an excellent synopsis of the bullying incident involving Whitney Kropp in the article, You shall go to the prom! Bullied teen who was saved by kindness of town after cruel prank shows off her new hair ahead of big night:

Whitney Kropp, 16, elected to homecoming court earlier this month – only to find out it had been a prank by popular students

  • Facebook page set up in support of sophomore, and donations pour in for her hair, make-up and a dress for the homecoming dance tonight
  • More than 1,000 showed up at homecoming game last night to support her
  • ‘The kids that are bullying you, do not let them bring you down,’ Whitney said after ceremony…

But her triumph turned to humiliation when she found out from other students that her nomination was nothing but a prank by the popular kids at the school – and she was told that the male student who was elected with her had withdrawn.

She said the prank hit hard and she even considered suicide.

But in an impressive show of support, her community rallied around her.

Local businesses offered to pay for her homecoming dress and shoes, for her to get her hair done, and even to buy her homecoming dance dinner.

A Support Whitney Facebook page has received more than 100,000 likes, after her heartbreaking tale of bullying resonated with hundreds of thousands around the country.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210429/Whitney-Kropp-Bullied-teen-saved-kindness-town-cruel-prank-shows-new-hair-ahead-big-night.html#ixzz27yVwUzw0

A natural question is whether “values education” in schools would affect the number of instances of bullying? For a really good description of the goal of “values education,” see Teaching Values in School: An Interview with Steve Johnson http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v13n1/interview.html

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm….
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

Misunderstandings Which Could Divide Religious Conservatives and Secularists

There are probably as many chances for understanding and misunderstanding as there are people. For many secularists, they probably wince when they hear some person like this blogger state that they believe The Bible is the inspired word of God. The question inevitably turns to what does that mean for me and how I will be treated? The honest answer is, it will probably vary depending on the individual. Still, although there are certain individual passages of The Bible other religious texts which can be harsh, the admonition is to look at the entire book, as in the case of Christianity. Christians are clearly mandated to love their neighbor.

On the other hand, many Christians and others of faith assume that because they take a strong stance for their belief, many of those who are secularists will automatically dismiss them and their beliefs. Again, this may or may not be an individual perception. If there is anything good which can come out of these tragic instances of bullying, perhaps it will be to spur people on to greater understanding with the intention of being tolerant of people who are not like us.

Anthony B. Robinson, President of Congregational Leadership Northwest has an excellent post at Crosscut, which although written specifically about religious tolerance, is really a good piece about tolerance in general. In Why Religious People Can Be More tolerant Than Secularists? Robinson writes talking about Rabbi Jonathan Sacks thoughts:

The secularist may argue for tolerance. Tolerance is a hallmark virtue of modernity, and certainly a necessary one. But is it sufficient?

At least sometimes, tolerance masks indifference. The person who breezily declares that, “Well, all religions are really just the same, only different paths up the same mountain,” may not be that helpful or persuasive to those whose faith is at the core of their life and culture. People who dismiss religious faith often end up dismissing people of faith. They lack the vocabulary and points of reference to enter into some of the most important conversations….

We need people who have mined their own religious traditions deeply. We need people who are used to carrying diamonds and so know something of the value of rubies. We need people and communities of faith that are both deeply rooted in their own tradition and radically open to people of other faiths and traditions.

Sometimes in modern and Western cultures we imagine that the person best equipped to be truly tolerant is the person without any deep or particular religious or world-view commitments of his or her own and who, as such, is assumed to be open to all. It is the myth of detached objectivity.

Sacks argues for a different option, something more and something deeper than tolerance: a radical openness and respect for the faith and traditions of others, because one is so deeply rooted in one’s own.

Religious people need to mine their own religious traditions which will lead them back to the “Golden Rule.” Secularists need to examine the practicality of the “Golden Rule.” The “Golden Rule” is the beginning of tolerance.

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