Category Archives: Politics

Marriage Equality: Reasons Behind the Reasoning

Before you read, you should know that I will not be making any statements about my personal beliefs on this topic in this post. I do not intend to support either side of the issue. Furthermore, this article will not deal with the morality of homosexuality itself—only the political issue of homosexual marriage will be addressed. I figure if you want someone’s opinion on the subject, you can read the thousands of other articles that have been written over the past decade.

Why am I writing a public article about a divisive issue without championing a side? I like to understand why people believe what they believe. I like to get to the primary beliefs that cause us to hold other deeply-held opinions—the bedrock beliefs, the ethical anchors, the unchanging truths we base everything else upon. In this post I will present what I believe to be the primary cause for the divisiveness surrounding the issue of the legalization of homosexual marriage.

In my opinion, the core of the issue is the very nature of the agreement being made when two people choose to marry. All of the arguments I’ve heard in support of or against the legalization of homosexual marriage have pre-supposed an answer to this question: Is it a religious covenant or a legal right granted by a government? Those who oppose homosexual marriage have assumed that marriage is primarily religious while those who support homosexual marriage believe that it is a legal contract overseen by a government.

The reason these two differing opinions exist is probably the way our government was founded. The western idea of marriage was, originally, a religious institution. Since it was the common religion when the United States was founded, the origins of our nation’s marriage system are defined largely by the traditional Christian views of marriage. The Constitution was written with a decidedly Christian slant and the original laws of our country were blatantly religious. It is not a stretch to say that our founding fathers had no concept of an entirely secular governing body void of any religious concepts.

In the minds of the original Americans, there was no distinction between political legality and religious morality; therefore, the right to control marriage was given to the government. That is why, although a deeply held tradition, two people who desire to be married do not need a church or an ordained minister. They simply need to visit a courthouse, obtain a proper license from a government official, and then swear to their commitment with legal witnesses.

And the line gets even more muddled. Despite the supposed separation of church and government, every state allows any ordained minister to legally officiate a marriage as the government’s official representative, but judges or marriage commissioners may head up the proceedings as well. It is easy to see why some believe it to be religious while others believe it to be governmental. The two have been intentionally intertwined.

Obviously, this is not intended to be an all-encompassing statement. There are, I’m sure, many who will not be able to identify with my premise, but I will say that all of the arguments I’ve heard for or against the legalization of homosexual marriage follow one of these general patterns:

marriage equality arguments

Advertisements

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Most of the political talk over the past few weeks has been every bit as intelligible as a Dr. Suess book…only without the rhyming structure, or plot, or clever characters. Hmmm. Maybe they aren’t as similar as I originally thought. The only thing that political speeches have in common with a Dr. Suess book is that I understand about as many words.

Fortunately I am here to clear up a lot of confusion (and probably create much more) by exploring the meaning of some of the numbers that keep getting thrown around. Specifically, I am going to try to tackle “47%” and “the wealthiest 1%.” Then I’m going to throw in my own number which I haven’t heard anyone else bring up- “0.33%.”

47%

Mitt Romney infamously said that he doesn’t care about the 47% of Americans who feel entitled. That’s not an exact quote, but that is how it has been presented by his opponents. I’m not going to criticize him for the remark or defend his point of view, just show where he got the number:

Romney was referring to the 47% of Americans who do not pay any federal income taxes. They still pay other forms of taxes (Social Security, state, local, etc.) so “entitled” or “freeloader” is a poor choice of words, but it is still rather alarming that almost half of working Americans do not contribute to the federal coffers.

Here’s a detailed and well-presented explanation of who bears the financial responsibility of our federal government and how much income level affects tax payout. If you don’t feel like going through the details, here’s a summary:

Income in the top 50% pay almost 100% of the taxes
Income in the top 25% pay 80% of the taxes
Income in the top 10% pay 70% of the taxes
Income in the top 1% pay 30% of the taxes

And that is the perfect segue into the…

1%

This is often used when referring to the “Bush tax cuts” in which the wealthiest one percent of our nation received more tax breaks than the bottom half. I will refrain from expounding on the idea that cutting zero is mathematically problematic and, once again, just talk about the numbers. To be in the wealthiest 1%, one must make at least $350,000 per year. Altogether, 1% of the population accounts for about 18% of all money earned in the United States.

Financial recap:
47% make about 15% of the total money earned and pay no taxes
1% make about 18% of the total money earned and pay 30% of the taxes

How those numbers are interpreted (or presented) and personal opinions on how the burden of taxes should be distributed will largely determine the votes of many Americans.

I’m much more concerned about this number:

0.33%

There was a very interesting exchange in the Vice Presidential debate about abortion policy. In the second presidential debate, both candidates took a question about women’s equality in the workplace and ran straight toward their opinions and policies regarding Planned Parenthood (40:53). Basically it all boils down to this: Obama/Biden wish for abortion to remain legal and for the government to continue subsidizing groups like Planned Parenthood who perform abortions while Romney/Ryan oppose the use of federal funding for abortions. The Romney campaign’s officially stated position on abortion is that Roe v. Wade should be repealed so that state governments can make their own laws about abortion. Paul Ryan stated in the debate that he and Governor Romney wish to make all abortions illegal except for in the cases of pregnancy caused by rape and incest.

According to the latest studies, pregnancies terminated because they are the result of rape or incest account for 0.33% of all abortions in the United States. Other studies dating back to 1987 place the number a little higher—just under 1.5%. Approximately 1.5 % of abortions are due to a concern for the health of either mother or child. The remaining 98% are the mother’s choice for social, economic, relationship, or personal reasons. Here’s what that looks like:

I am unashamedly Pro-life. I believe that intentionally ending another human life is wrong under any circumstances. I hate to see one human suffer because another human chooses to cause that suffering. My heart goes out to the victims of rape and incest and my heart goes out to the victims of abortion. Seeing the non-life-and-death reality of the circumstances that cause many Americans to make that decision greatly concerns me.

This is Not My Political Opinion

When it comes to politics I’m convinced most people think this way- “I know what I know and am not really interested in digging much deeper.” I’ve got to confess I am that way most of the time. Because of my lack of knowledge and your lack of interest in reading my uninformed opinions, I’ll just list a few things that keep popping into my mind this election season. These opinions may or may not be accurate, but I keep thinking them anyway:

  • Moral conservatism does not necessarily equal political conservatism.
  • I wish someone would run for President based on his leadership and decision-making ability rather than how bad the other guy’s plan is.
  • The AFA has done more harm to Christianity than they have helped. All they have done is made Christians look petty and pitiful. They have not changed anyone’s opinion about who to vote for because…
  • There is no such thing as an undecided voter. If you don’t know which candidate you agree with more by now you either haven’t been paying attention or have no convictions.
  • I think it’s important to remember that neither candidate wants to harm the United States. Each believes very strongly that his plan is the correct course for this nation, and the one who is elected really will do his best to keep America great.
  • Voting all comes down to priorities. Once you decide which issues are most important to you, then strongly supporting a candidate should be easy.
  • Fox News is only “Fair and Balanced” in that they balance out CNN.

Disagree? That’s why there is a “Comment” button below.