This couple is legally married, and the state of Florida thinks their marriage is perfectly dandy. Florida schoolchildren are being taught that their marriage is just as good as anyone else’s — except for gay people. Because, you know, that’s a much bigger threat to marriage than people who have sex with dogs and with 15-year-old family friends.
When a group of pundits gathered for a recent Oxford-style debate, the proposition alone was provocative: “Bush 43 Is the Worst President of the Past 50 Years.” But when you consider that one of the panelists defending President Bush’s legacy was his longtime adviser Karl Rove, the night became even more interesting.
If God does exist, why doesn’t he tell a straight story, once and for all? (Yes, I know that each believer in each version believes he has, but not so that he could convince a jury consisting of believers in a variety of the others.) If God is a delusion, and a delusion is, by definition dysfunctional, how come I have so many delusional friends who are wealthier, more successful and apparently happier than I am?
In order to answer those questions successfully, we need to answer, or at least encounter, a bunch of the other long-term puzzles of philosophy. Questions like: What is truth? How do we determine truth? Can religion be studied by science? What is science?
And if morality doesn’t come from God, where does it come from? To answer that, we have to figure out what morality is.
There is a scene in Gus Van Sant’s Milk that goes some way toward explaining the unprecedented nationwide protests that occurred after California voters, on Nov. 4, reinstituted a ban on gay marriage in their state by passing Proposition 8.
In the scene, Sean Penn, playing the gay rights icon Harvey Milk, celebrates an almost diametrically opposite moment in history: the gay rights movement’s 1978 victory over California’s Proposition 6, which would have banned homosexuals, or anyone who supported them, from teaching in public schools.
“We can come home,” Milk, as played with impressive intuition and bravery by Penn, tells a cheering crowd of activists in San Francisco on the night that Prop. 6 was defeated.
With his death, Harvey Milk taught us what it means to be gay. For my generation those lessons are secure, as is Milk’s place in history. But last week, as the 30th anniversary of his assassination approached, coupled with the opening of the new Sean Penn bio-epic on his life, “Milk,” it became clear that the lessons of Harvey Milk are being lost to the newest generation of the LGBT community.
He has been a one man wrecking crew to expunge race from law and public policy decisions. But this is not simply one man’s personal bitterness over his alleged mistreatment by liberals and civil rights leaders. Nor is it a case of Thomas digging his heels in to push his retrograde view on legal matters. He wants more judges to think and act like him on the bench. Obama has made it clear not only that he would not appoint another Thomas to the High Court but that the type of judges he’d appoint will be the diametric opposite of him. There’s a good chance that he will have that chance, maybe two possibly three chances.