Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court Rulings and State Authority

I'm going to take a dive into politics right now.
The Supreme Court made several rulings that should appeal to people who believe strongly in state rights and want less federal oversight.
First, the overturning of part of the Voter's Rights Act.  I don't know whether this move was good or not, I don't have that much knowledge about the issues that were involved in this and I am distrustful about how this decision will be used, especially with the new laws that Texas wants to implement.  However, it was a move that should appeal to those who believe in the sovereignty of the state.  The Supreme Court removed federal oversight of voting laws in specific states and regions.  That means that these states now have the power to make their own laws without federal control. 
Second, the overturning of DOMA.  This means that what a state defines as a marriage is a marriage in the eyes of the federal government.  If a couple living in a state with marriage equality gets a marriage license from the state, the federal government cannot say that marriage license is not legit in the eyes of the federal government.  The state decides what is a marriage within that state's borders, and the federal government has to respect that.  The state holds more authority in defining marriage.
Third, the dismissal of the Prop 8 case.  In this dismissal, the Supreme Court is saying that a federal court is not going to be the ultimate decision maker for an issue within that state. They let the ruling of the District Court within the state of California to stand, and as a result, marriage equality has been enacted in the state of California.  They let the state court decide what marriage is in the state of California and they refused to make a sweeping federal decision.
All these decisions upheld state authority in law making and removed or refused federal oversight.
What do I think about all this personally?
I think that I need to learn a whole lot more about the Voting Rights Act.  But if you're a citizen over the age of 18 and aren't currently incarcerated, you have the right to vote.  Nothing should hinder your access to the polls. I hope that the Supreme Court's decision will not result in laws and redistricting that would inhibit people's right to vote from being recognized or minority voices from being heard in law making bodies.  
I am happy that DOMA is repealed. 
I am also satisfied with the Prop 8 decision.  I recognize that the Supreme Court could have made a decision that would have brought marriage equality to more states or even the entire United States, but looking at this from a purely legal standpoint, I think they made the right decision. 
I wrote this because I know some conservative friends of mine think that the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions had a "liberal bias", but actually all these decisions that were laid out this week show a respect for state authority.  If you're someone who pushes for state rights, you should be satisfied with the Supreme Court's decisions, no matter your own personal ideology on the subject matter.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

BSA and bad Churches

The Boy Scouts of America ruled a while ago that they can allow gay scouts as long as they are under 18.  It was something that I thought was interesting, but the ruling didn't catch my attention until I learned that some churches were kicking out scout troops because of this. I've only heard about two churches so far, but the idea that a church could refuse to associate with the organization because of this decision makes my blood boil.
I understand that some churches really do think that homosexuality is a sin and they try to remove homosexuals that refuse to repent for their "sin" from their congregations. I always thought this was horrible, but now there are churches going to new heights to remove gay people from their churches.  They won't even allow an organization which accepts gay youth meet in their buildings.
Think of what they are saying to young gay boy scouts.  They are not "loving the sinner but hating the sin", they are saying that these boy scouts are so repulsive that they can no longer come into their buildings.  They are punishing their entire troop for allowing them to still be scouts.  This is horrific.  In my opinion these churches are crossing the line.  I can sigh and leave churches who believe homosexuality is a sin alone, because I have hope that God is still doing good through them despite them being wrong on this issue. But when they start openly doing hateful things to hurt people who are trying to support gay people, I start having issues.  They are setting aside the greatest commandment, given by Jesus that states, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Love Your Neighbor As Yourself." How can you love your neighbor if you refuse to let them into your buildings? If you take away your support just because they don't kick gay youth out of their organization? I don't think that's what Christ would do, and as Christians, aren't we supposed to follow his lead?
Part of me wants to yell at these churches, to organize people to tell them how wrong they are to do this.  I want them to lose membership, to die out.  I want their buildings to become vacant. I don't see how Christ can redeem people who do such an un-Christian thing.
But God is God, and Christ is Christ, and that means that there is still hope.  These churches could still turn around.  There can still be repentance from these congregations. In ten years, the congregants could look at the time they kicked out the BSA for allowing gay youth and blush with embarrassment.  I hope and pray that God redeems these situations.  I pray that the decisions these churches have made do not leave lasting wounds on the youth they reject.  I pray and hope because I know that the Christ who still proclaimed love after being brutally murdered is the Christ who refuses to let evil have the last say.