Many potential consequences from the same-sex ruling

Last Friday was certainly a very historic day for those supporters of same-sex marriage here in the United States. It is now the law of the land and same-sex marriage is legal in every state. Judging from the reaction of many people over this ruling, you would think that legalizing same-sex marriage is the greatest thing to ever happen in this country. Unfortunately, myself and many others fail to share in the hysteria and joy over this event. This is sure to create more headaches and problems down the road than our country can ever imagine. Same-sex marriage is a very divisive issue that will certainly become more divisive down the road.

The ruling by the Supreme Court over this issue was 5-4, hardly a clear-cut majority decision. It is very unfortunate that a small group of people get to decide what is best for over 318 million people. The rationing behind the justices who supported this ruling is very narrow and close-minded at best. There is no question in my mind that they are just serving their own little biased opinions in finding a way to make this issue the law of the land. I find that the 5 who agreed with the decision are guilty of failing to look at what potential consequences are in store for this nation by making same-sex marriage legal in every 50 states. I have a feeling these justices or any potential new justices will be very busy in the upcoming years.

One of the first questions that I would ask a justice is what are the limits of marriage equality? Why would polygamy not be legal now? As a single straight male, I may love 3 women at the present time. According to the rationale of the justices and supporters of this new law, people now have the right to marry who they love. What about my right to marry those 3 women? If you are going to re-define what marriage is about, you are going to have to look at the possible scenarios down the road. Suppose that I wanted to marry one of my closest cousins? Currently in my state of Minnesota, I cannot. It is not legal for cousins to marry. So where are my rights? There is no end to the number of so-called “non-traditional” marriage unions. Some couples may even want to marry and live together to take advantage of the tax breaks that married people have. Nobody has ever given me a good answer as to where we need to draw the line. Marriage needs to have boundaries and this ruling just opened up a lot of potential confusion about the rights over who people can and cannot marry. If you are going to give gays the right to marry their partners, you need to include the rights of other people who feel the need to have “non-traditional” marriages as well. What about a bi-sexual person? Do they have the right to marry both a man and a woman? Imagine some poor child who is involved in a family with multiple lovers? Where do you draw the line? Unfortunately, the justices apparently failed to realize that this may happen very soon. Given some people the right to have a so-called “non-traditional” marriage and denying another person that right will lead to much confusion and resentment in the future.

Perhaps the biggest problem that will result from the ruling is the rights of religious institutions. Contrary to what some people may believe, religious institutions and people of faith DO HAVE RIGHTS!! Since gay couples now have the right to marry, I would assume that several will want to hold a ceremony inside a church or have a pastor perform a wedding. Suppose it is against the religious beliefs of the pastor to perform the wedding? The gay couple sues the pastor. I can almost guarantee that this scenario will happen numerous times in the upcoming future. There are certain close-minded individuals who feel that a church should lose their tax exempt status if they fail to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples. They are only looking at the rights of the gay couple, not the religious leaders or church. This also includes wedding photographers, cake makers and other people involved in weddings. Unfortunately, you would have to be extremely naive not to think these problems will not happen. The more they happen, the uglier things will get. Moral and religious issues are among the most divisive ones that we have in this country. This ruling only promise to intensify an already bitter feud become people of faith and those who support gay rights.

As many people probably have figured out from reading some of my posts, I am not a fan of same-sex marriages for some of the reasons listed above. If you want to call me a bigot, that is fine. By the way, if you call me and others who do not favor same-sex marriages bigots as well, you are also calling God a bigot. Marriage was created by him for a man and women to live together, share their lives together and raise a family. The old-fashioned way of marriage involving a man and woman loving each other until death is the best form of marriage. Many of these loving relationships produce good children who are a very valued part of our society. I have very serious doubts whether redefining marriage is in the best interests of this country. Having a small number of people try to rewrite it and force it down the rest of our throats is not right and may be one of the worst decisions the Supreme Court has ever made. Get ready people of the United States, the war has only started. This issue is far from being accepted by many people. There are bound to be many problems and legal fights in the future.

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The confederate flag debate and the hypocrisy of retail stores

The issue on whether southern states such as South Carolina should be allowed to hang a confederate flag in public settings has suddenly been a hot topic of debate in this country during the past week. The flag, which is a large symbol of the south, has also been said to be a symbol of slavery, racism and bigotry, and many leaders suddenly want it do be taken down in any public area. When the shooter of last week’s awful church shootings was shown in a picture with the flag, the calls for its removal was intensified throughout this country.

I have absolutely no problem with any state in the south banning the flag in any public area. If the flag suddenly is causing that much controversy, maybe the smart thing to do is just remove it and place it in some museum. Also, isn’t the American flag the only flag in this country that really matters? In my way of thinking, the confederate flag represents division in this country and that is far from what we want. We are all in this together, north, south, west and east and the American flag represents every one of us. But having said that, the confederate flag is indeed a huge symbol of the south and many who support the flag are far from being racists. It is a symbol of pride for some of the nicest people you would ever meet. I have met several people from the south in my lifetime and they are the most polite and friendly people in the world.

Being that this sudden outcry over the flag appears to be turning into a success, what is next? What about the American flag? One could argue that this also a symbol of oppression against people especially for those who claim that we took this land from the Indians. I know some may think that I am crazy for saying this, but I can just see the American flag being under attack in the very near future. For some wackos out there, maybe we could include an image of a sickle on the flag. And maybe change the name of the United States to United Socialist States of America!!

What about our currency? George Washington’s picture is on the dollar bill. Did you know that he was a slave owner? Oh heavens forbid!! Maybe the politically correct people will call for a boycott of the dollar bill!! There are thousands of streets, lakes, public statutes and so forth which are named after former slave owners. Perhaps someone can start a big campaign to rename the many thousands of public places which are named after former slave owners. That will really help stop racism in this country wouldn’t it?

I find the most amusing thing about this controversy over the flag is the bandwagon jumping by many retail stores to stop selling those flags. Their reasoning behind the move is they deem the flag offensive to many. The same stores have many cd’s in their music department which are very degrading to blacks and women. I don’t see many of these stores getting rid of those types of offensive things!! How hypocritical!!

This whole debate will not really accomplish much at all. There are many things that I see everyday that are offensive to me. What is offensive to me might not be offensive to someone else. Sadly, this whole debate will overshadow the tragic church killings of last week and the tremendous message of forgiveness by the victim’s families. Those powerful words will do wonders to really unite people. That is really what we need to talk about now instead of worrying about the political correctness of a flag.

Unthinkable evil in Charleston

If anyone wants further proof that this world is quickly going to hell in a handbasket, one only needs to look at what happened last week in Charleston South Carolina. 9 perfectly innocent human beings were gunned down by a very deranged, troubled, racist young man. You would think that a church is the very last place that a tragedy of that magnitude would happen; after all it is the house of God, a sacred place where people should feel safe. Unfortunately, the forces of evil will and can strike at any place in this world.

This tragic event is just another example of the growing evil in this world. Some individuals simply cannot tolerate people who are of a different race, gender, sexual orientation or religion than they are. These people think that it is their duty to eliminate these folks, because in their warped minds, they are the real evil people in this world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very troubled young man who committed this heinous act quite frankly is the real problem. How can you possible say that those victims worshipping in a church are a problem to society? What did they do to deserve their fate? Absolutely nothing!! Just because they have a particular skin color doesn’t mean that they are a menace to society.

It was very unfortunate to hear certain politicians, such as the president, decide to use this tragedy as a way to push their agenda for tighter gun control. Do these people really believe that having tighter gun control laws will really prevent these events from happening? I know I have said this in many other blog posts, but the real issue at hand is people’s behavior, not gun control. A crazed individual will find ways to get a gun or if not a gun, they will used some other method such as using a knife or a bomb. Are we going to put strict restrictions on knifes as well?

The sad part of these events is that crazy people will do harm and there is very little we can do to stop some kid, who has a grudge against a particular group of people, from committing a serious act of violence. About the only way we can stop these people is through warning signs. Many troubled people give clues about their state of minds before the crimes will be committed. Unfortunately, many people just brush these signs off before it is way too late. Any little warning sign has to be taken serious by either a friend or parent. How this young man got a gun from his parent is totally unthinkable!! What parent in their right mind would give their child a gun given the child’s background in drug abuse?

I want to personally offer my condolences to the victim’s families. America is certainly behind you guys. I was really touched by their statements in asking for forgiveness for the young man. It takes a really strong person and Christian to offer forgiveness to someone who has just killed one of your loved ones. In the meantime, I hope this event will really bring to light a growing problem in our society of people’s irrational behavior. Somebody we love could be the next victim or it could be you or I.

A new and much better NBA

The NBA finally wrapped up its season last night with Golden State winning their first title since 1975. During the series, a rather interesting topic came up with regards to the evolution of the game. Basketball has always been thought of as a big man’s game, especially in the NBA. The league used to be filled with great low post players such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan and Pat Ewing. Teams used to strive to pick up good big men in the draft. It was thought that picking up a good center could quickly change the fortunes of any team. Well that was then and now, it seems the emphasis is more on getting those good smaller players such as an elite point guard. The NBA and quite frankly most of basketball is becoming more of a smaller man’s game and as a fan, I find those changes to be a very welcome change.

About 15-20 years ago, the NBA was becoming totally unwatchable to me. Any hoops fan might remember that ugly stretch shortly after Michael Jordan retired. Low scoring games and very physical play in the lane. How can anyone forget those classic battles between the Knicks and Heat when the first team to reach 80 won the game. I found it more enjoyable to go down to my local health club and watch a bunch of fat guys play ball!! That was a very ugly era for the NBA. Fortunately, those days are long and gone. There is so much more finesse in the game today. The league is blessed to have a number of talented guards and small forwards. Even the skill level of the big guys is fun to watch. Many of them play like guards. Who could ever imagine seeing a bunch of big men taking 3 point shots or facing up and beating their defenders off the dribble? I find that play to be much more enjoyable to watch. The more highly skilled players, the better. A player who can only dunk is not very fun to watch in my opinion.

The recent series between Golden State and Cleveland is exactly what I am talking about. Golden State is a very fun to watch. They have several talented players who do multiple things with the ball plus they play a very fast paced tempo. No slowing down the game and milking the shot clock for these guys. Even a casual basketball fan has to appreciate watching them play.

Having said those things, I still believe teams should not overlook talented big men. Since there are so many talented guards and smaller players in the league, teams will probably be looking to match up with these players in either the draft or free agency. In my opinion, a talented big man is a hard to get treasure. You could reverse the argument and talk about how other teams will be able to stop or match up with our big guy. I still believe in the argument that a good big man is better to have than a good smaller player. If I were a building a team, I would build from the center position out. Good guards are a dime a dozen. A good big man, who is very versatile, is harder to find and can have a greater impact on a team.

With this new influx of talent and seemingly new evolution of a quicker, more up tempo style of play, the popularity of the league can only go up from here. Those younger big men out there who have aspirations of playing in the NBA some day better start working on their long-range shooting and ball handling. It is a new era in the league and this fan loves it!!

Confession of a non-soccer fan

Soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world. It probably has the most participants of any team sport out there. The World Cup might be the coveted sporting event in the entire world. Many countries basically shut down when they play a World Cup match. Any participant in the Cup dreams of scoring the winning goal for his or her country. The passion for the sport in many countries is simply off the charts. With the women’s FIFA World Cup currently taking place, soccer has certainly been one of the major talkers in the sports world. Unfortunately for this sports fan, I am having a hard time generating the same level of enthusiasm as many folks seem to have during this world-wide tournament. I have to confess that soccer really bores the crap out of me. It simply is not something that I place a high priority in watching. No offense to any soccer fan, but I cannot see myself changing my schedule so I have time to watch a couple of teams from outside of the United States play a qualifying match on cable television.

Last night, I decided to watch a game between the United States and Sweden. It was a much talked about game with plenty of hype so I decided to tune in. Not only did the game have plenty of hype to it, it also featured a game with women’s athletes. Now what red-blooded American male like myself not enjoy a match with a bunch of physical fit young females running around kicking a ball? After about 30 minutes, I got bored with the game and switched to something else. In the 30 minutes that I watched, there were only about  3 good scoring chances for either team. Later on I caught the end of the game. The ending was somewhat dramatic with a few chances for our United States team, but the game finally ended with a 0-0 tie, yes 0-0! Like in no goals for either team!! There lies the problem with soccer; it simply has very little offense and scoring to please this sports fan and apparently many others to fully become engaged with the sport. I prefer to watch a sport where there is plenty of scoring and opportunities for either team to score. I find soccer to be painfully lacking in these areas and that is why I would rather not spend 2 hours of my time watching a game. In my opinion, soccer has to be one of the most boring sports to watch on television. I would much rather play the sport than watch it. It is a very fun sport to play and gives you a great cardio workout, but sitting in my easy chair and watching 2 hours of soccer? No thanks!

Perhaps sometime in the near future, I may change my attitude about the sport of soccer and watch more of it. Maybe I might marry a woman who is totally passionate about soccer and demands to watch soccer as much as possible. Or maybe the United States will have a lot of success in the World Cup and my passion will somehow grow. I recently developed a liking for ice hockey so there might still be some hope for me. In the meantime, give me American football or basketball, but please leave out soccer. I would rather watch paint dry for 2 hours!!

Bruce Jenner is not a hero

If there ever was evidence that society is going downhill quickly, one needs to look no further than some of the reaction to the revelation that former Olympic gold medal winner, and one of the biggest sports icons ever in this country, Bruce Jenner, announced that he is now a woman. Jenner now would like to be called Caitlyn Jenner instead of Bruce Jenner. Jenner’s announcement has been met with widespread praise and admiration from thousands of people from all over the world. People are praising him for coming out, and according to them, having the courage to face reality of who he really is. Some are going as far as calling him their hero. ESPN recently awarded him the Arthur Ashe award for courage.

When I hear these praises of Jenner, I just shake my head in pure amazement. This person is someone with obvious issues going on in his now her life. Jenner is someone who is living some far-fetched fantasy about his true gender, he was created by God to be a man, period!! He has the natural biological makeup of a man and no surgery can ever change that! Do people in their own right minds think that this will finally bring peace and happiness to Jenner? I hardly think so. It is a proven fact that many transsexual individuals never find true happiness in their lives, even after the surgery. Learning to accept the reality of who you are is the only true way of that brings happiness and peace to a person’s life. Jenner appeared to be in serious need a strong reality check!

I have to give a strong thumbs down to ESPN for giving Jenner the Arthur Ashe award for courage. Are you kidding me? What is so courageous about what Jenner did? Would someone please explain that to me? Is revealing that you have strong desires to suddenly become a woman courageous? Give me a break!! That is entirely delusional, not courageous. There are far worthy candidates for the award. I think of athletes like Lauren Hill who continued to live her life as a college athlete while battling terminal cancer. Now that is being courageous. Or the athletes who come back from wars with missing limbs, yet they do not let their handicaps get in the way of playing the sports they love. ESPN seems to have a real thing with heaping praise on athletes who come out as gay or transsexual. Who really gives a rip whether some athlete likes members of his own gender of wants to be a member of the other gender? It is really none of my business or anyone else’s.

Another sad thing about Jenner’s revelation is that this is a certain publicity stunt that Jenner will certainly profit from. I am sure in the near future that Jenner will come out with a book and discuss his life and what made him make this decision. It will be one of the hottest selling books ever. I for one would never buy it. In fact, I am totally sick of hearing about Jenner!! No more please!! I wish the media would just stop with all this nonsense about his life. Why should someone profit from an obvious mental condition that they refuse to accept?

Sadly, someday Jenner may wake and finally face reality that he really is a man. I personally believe that Jenner will never be totally happy with who is whether it be a man or women. Praising someone who has deep emotional issues and refuses to face reality is just not right in my opinion. Those many people who are supporting Jenner need to wake up and understand what a serious problem Jenner has. Bruce Jenner might have been my hero several years ago, but he is far from being my hero today. I find his attitude towards his choice and the acceptance of millions towards his choice to be very disturbing. It is very sad that we as a society accept an individual for living some crazy, unrealistic dream about who they really are.

A much needed change to the Patriotic Act and NSA surveillance program

The very controversial NSA surveillance program is once again grabbing headlines here in the United States. Members of Congress are currently debating about what changes need to be made to the Patriotic Act to ensure an equal balance between protecting our country from terrorists and at the same time, guaranteeing that our personal freedoms are not being interfered with. It is a very tricky balance that has generated a great deal of debate not only by law makers, but by the average American citizens. The million dollar question is how far is going too far. How much government surveillance do we really need in our lives?

Personally, I have struggled with trying to form a definite opinion on this issue. On one hand, I find it hard to believe that a program like this cannot work and not be effective. It is refreshing to know that the NSA has access to great technology at its hand to stop any terrorist in their tracks. We live in an age when another terrorist attack is almost imminent in this country. Knowing we have this capability makes me feel much safer as an American. In order to be assured of that safety, what are we really giving up? Quite frankly, I could care less if some government official wanted access to my phone calls and emails. I have nothing to hide, period!! And many of my fellow Americans can probably say the same thing. I think many people are somewhat overreacting when they say that their personal freedoms are at risk.

On the other hand, what is this point of having large stockpiles of records being stored away? Can we really trust our government to make sure that those records stay secure and are only used for what they are supposed to be used for? Suppose during a presidential election. the sitting president secretly orders that the records of his or her opponents be made public. I can see so many scenarios where this much information will backfire and be used for the wrong reasons like trying to smear a political opponent or a another party. Also, does anyone believe that some hacker from another foreign country or worse yet, some terrorist group, not have the capability to get into that record base? They can easily turn the tables on us with this excess amount of data.

It is refreshing to know that lawmakers from both parties are starting to wake up and thinking about ways to improve this program. Many Americans like myself pose no threat to our national security and there is absolutely no reason at all to collect our private emails and phone records. That is just plain nonsense!! It make no sense to collect records from some 90-year-old woman living in North Dakota. However, some individual who is traveling back and forth from the Middle East would be an excellent candidate for this program. Especially if they were making multiple calls overseas everyday. This program just needs to be more efficient and less costly. There is simply no reason to collect all those phone records. That is a classic example of government waste. I applaud both parties for seeking much-needed revisions to this program. A leaner and less costly program is what we need to ensure our safety and at the same time, protect an intrusive government from digging too far into our lives.