Friday, April 24, 2015

Governor Jindal Called Me A "Left-Wing Ideologue"

Well... Not to my face.

But, he called those who think business people should not be able to discriminate against gay people in providing services for same-sex weddings "left-wing ideologues."

So, I guess I must be included.

Which is really funny to me.

Because in my U.S. Government class in high school we had to take this little test which measured how liberal or conservative we were. The results? This kinda hot Mormon boy and I got a tie score as the most conservative people in the school. He was interested in me for about five minutes. Until he found out how Catholic I was. The teacher said, "Marla, you should be on your knees before Ronald Reagan." (Mind you. This was no insult. That particular teacher was a staunch Republican.)

And -- yes -- I voted for Reagan. And Bush. And Bush. And McCain. And Romney. (Although, that one was rather painful.)

I also homeschooled my kids and paid their tuition at pretty much the most conservative Catholic colleges IN THE WORLD. Not in the state, mind you. Or even the country. But, THE WORLD.

So, to have myself lumped in with the "left-wing ideologues" was quite hilarious. And also quite illustrative of today's conservative thinking.

Which is why, I suppose, I can't really call myself a conservative, anymore. I jumped off that train as it derailed and I found my feet firmly planted in the land of Obamacare.

And after much research and thinking and soul-searching, I have also found my feet firmly planted in the land of marriage equality. If a marriage is legal, then it should stand on equal legal ground with all other legal marriages, and should be respected, as such.

And what does this mean to me, as far as religious freedom goes?

It means that the Catholic Church (and any other religious organization) should never, ever be forced to preside at weddings which do not conform to their theology. Even the Human Rights Campaign asserts that they should never have to do this, as it would be a very clear violation of the Constitution.

But, as far as taking photographs and serving food and baking cakes and preparing pizza? To assert that to do this is a violation of your religious freedom is tenuous, at best. And more like ridiculous. I'm not going to go into a big explanation of this. Many others have explained it, and explained it very well.

I am, though, going to tell you where all this pizza/cake/flowers/photograph hoo-ha came from.

As I have existed, for many years, in the land of the right -- both religious and political -- I was able to observe much of the development of the anti-same-sex-marriage movement. And I came to realize that it was primarily based on fear. The movement had to make people afraid of what would happen to them if same-sex marriage became a reality. I heard priests and political people speak very persuasively about how we Christians would be persecuted if same-sex marriage were legalized. It truly was frightening. I became frightened. And I'm sorry for that. It was only after I started doing research and speaking to people on my own that I became un-frightened. Now -- mind you -- there were (and are) people who don't support same-sex marriage and who speak about their views in a way that is not fear-inducing. It is more philosphical and theological. But, there was (and is) A LOT of hysterical talk in the anti-same-sex-marriage movement.

So, when same-sex marriage was legalized in many places and nothing frightening occurred and most people were starting to make peace with their same-sex-married-couple neighbors, the anti-same-sex-marriage movement had to come up with a way to show the populace that they were, IN FACT, being religiously persecuted and should, IN FACT, be very afraid. Enter the Same-Sex-Pizza-Wars (insert "flowers" or "photography" or "cake" for "pizza," as you so desire).

Simply put: YOU ARE BEING PLAYED, nice conservative people.

(And here I'm going to put in a plug for the nice conservative people. Most of them don't hate anybody. Some of them do. This is true. And that hate is absolutely unacceptable. But, most of them don't. They are being played, which calls for a little patience and understanding on your part, nice progressive people.)

Because, you know what? Providing wedding services is not the same thing as participating in a marriage ceremony. And refusing to provide the services of your business because a marriage does not conform to your theology could rightfully be seen as constituting discrimination. I, personally, believe it does.

There are many types of marriages that the Catholic Church does not deem as "Sacramental" in its theology. Same-sex marriage is one of those types, but there are many others. I generally don't see the Catholic Church, or any other Christian churches, making a lot of noise about their members catering these other non-Sacramental weddings. So, frankly, it looks like we are picking on the LGBTQ people in a rather cruel way.

I look at it this way. I understand what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage. And I respect it. But, I am also quite sure that we don't know everything there is to know about human sexuality. And if somebody is gay or lesbian, forming a relationship with a person of the same sex is the natural thing to do. And these relationships are whole relationships. They are not just all about the sex act. They truly are about love and commitment. They are emotionally and spiritually supportive. They are TOTAL relationships.

Yes, there are unhealthy same-sex relationships. There are also unhealthy heterosexual relationships -- lots of them. But, same-sex relationships can also be very healthy and satisfying for the people involved. And I feel uncomfortable casting a negative judgment on these relationships. I think to myself, "I am very straight. What if I was told I either had to marry another woman or be alone for the rest of my life?" That kind of sums it up, for me.

So, this Catholic lady, who sent her kids to the three most conservative Catholic colleges IN THE WORLD, would -- if I knew how -- be very happy to arrange the flowers or bake the cake or take the pictures or prepare the pizza for your same-sex wedding. And I would wish you much happiness as I did so.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Watch "Gotham"

The ratings for the last couple episodes of "Gotham" have been down a bit. And it's too bad. It's really a great show. It has been renewed for a second season, so there's no danger of cancellation. But, it would be cool if the ratings picked up a bit (or a lot) as we head toward the season finale and await Season 2. Because I want a Season 3. And I don't want Ben McKenzie to be sad. He works too hard to have to be sad.

Now, I know many people started out watching "Gotham" and then quit after a few episodes. Y'all should come back. You should always give a new show AT LEAST five episodes, and probably more like seven, before you give up on it. It really takes that long for the thing to get out of the gate and get into its groove. You should believe me on this because somebody once called me a "film producer," so -- obviously -- I know about these things. Haha. Actually, you should believe me on this because I have skipped too much housework in lieu of watching a lot of TV in my life, and I have noticed this phenomenon.  And I'll tell you, "Gotham" has really gotten its s**t together. Mind you, I have enjoyed it from the get-go, but it has gotten better and better. For one thing, Ben McKenzie has truly found his Jim Gordon and is consistently "in the zone." Bravo, Ben! You are rockin' it.

I know some people also have an issue with "Gotham's" 8:00 time slot, especially parents. I have noticed that young people are pestering their parents to let them watch "Gotham," leading them to just put their foot down in a frustrated demonstration of parental authority. Thus, these poor moms and dads most likely don't even DVR the show and also -- probably -- boycott everything FOX. I have noticed that most people hate on FOX. The progressives hate on it because of the news and the conservatives hate on it because of its entertainment offerings. It's a wonder, of sorts, that FOX is even still on the air. I guess, though, that giving absolutely everybody something to hate on could make you quite popular.

Take heart, moms and dads. The violence on "Gotham," though present, is not gratuitous. It is appropriate for the story. And that story has key moral questions that your children should consider. Of course, I am not talking about 7-year-olds. But, I do think that children who are 10 years old and above could reap many benefits from watching "Gotham." The show presents to its audience the types of moral conundrums that most (if not all) of us will face in our lives. This is part of the value of a good story, which "Gotham" is. We see these fictional situations and fictional characters. We see how the characters -- some of whom we admire and some of whom we don't -- interact with the situations. We see what the results of those interactions are. There is much food for thought here, and many parallels with "real life." I homeschooled my kids for 13 years, and if "Gotham" had been on, I would have used it in writing lessons, ethics lessons, history lessons, political science lessons, art lessons... I almost want to have another baby so that I can use "Gotham" in lesson plans. (No. Not really. Just kidding. And -- besides -- I am "past the age.") The point is, though, that if you watch "Gotham" with your kids and you have any semblance of coolness about you as a parent, you can leverage it in order to teach your kids A LOT.

Also, as far as real life role models, you should want your kids to be acquainted with those involved in making "Gotham." The whole team is pretty incredible. They are positive people living positive lives. The actor who plays the young Bruce Wayne and the young actress who plays Selina Kyle (the future Catwoman) are prime examples of this. They are incredibly grounded, intelligent, energetic, joyful, engaged-with-life young people. They speak about their "real lives" and their work in a way which could inspire kids to live their own lives with both a sense of healthy fun and purpose. As they speak about the story of "Gotham," they shed light onto the creative process, which is an especially important thing for kids to understand as they navigate their way through the educational system's literature and writing assignments. Ben, himself, is a very good example for kids. He believes young people should work very hard, be very responsible, as they strive to reach worthwhile goals; and he will often speak of this. In fact, he can almost come off as a little bit of a curmudgeon. I actually told my daughter that if he ever has kids, he's going to be the world's strictest dad. ;-) What makes his message such a terrific one for young people, though, is the fact that he is a truly fun person and he has the right end-game in mind. --> He desires that kids grow up to do work that means something to them, work they will enjoy, work that will benefit both themselves and others. And he knows from experience and expresses quite effectively (i.e. in a way that kids will listen) what is necessary to achieve these things.

It seems this post has morphed from why people -- in general -- should watch "Gotham" into why parents should let their kids watch "Gotham." That really wasn't my original intention, but there you have it. And adults should watch it, too. It's beautifully crafted, well-written, compelling, thought-provoking, and a great deal of FUN! I actually think it's really all about President Obama. Or LBJ. Or FDR. Or even The Gipper. So... Catch up on those previously aired episodes and I hope to see you on Monday night in Gotham! And then I hope to see you on Tuesday night for "Agents Of Shield." We've gotta get Coulson out of that jam. I love Coulson!