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The Path

Posted by Doug White under Personal, Uncategorized

For years we’d been walking down this path together. It was a comfortable path. There were few rocks to stumble over and the flowers were bright and filled with interesting aromas.

One day something changed. I ran to my wife, filled with concern.

“HONEY!”

“Yes, dear?” was her calm reply.

“There’s something in our path! I almost stepped on it! What is it?”

I grabbed her hand and ran to where I saw the thing in our path. It lay there on the ground. When it looked at me, it began to cry.

“It’s a Baby, sweetheart. She’s ours.”

“Huh? Really? Does it walk with us on this path?”

“No, silly. She can’t walk yet. We have to help her with her needs. For now.”

My wife picked the Baby up and with a smile carefully handed it to me. It was still crying. And it had a smell. “What on earth is that?”

“She needs changing.”

“Honey, I just want to walk down the path. This is going to change everything.”

“Exactly. And that’s okay,” my wife told me.

My wife changed the diapers on this new creature I found on our path and we continued on our way. I didn’t know what to make of this little person. She cried. She was hungry. She needed changing. It was a disruption to the path.

Until it wasn’t.

“HONEY!”

“Yes, dear, what is it?”

“The Baby! She walks!”

“Well, that’s a good thing, right?”

“Yeah, and she smiles, and she laughs and she likes to play!” I told her, filled with wonder.

“She’s not a Baby, anymore, Doug.”

“What is she?”

“She’s a Little Girl.”

“What do I do with her?”

“That’s easy. Play with her. Teach her what you know.”

“I don’t know much, hon.”

“You know more than you think. She’s waiting for you.”

I walked over to the Little Girl and grabbed her little hand. She took me down the path a ways, where the flowers changed into something marvelous. There were butterflies, and candy hanging off the trees. There were princes and princesses. There were fairy tales to explore and games to play. The path before us was filled with Imagination. This path was her part of our path and it was where I learned that this Little Girl was going to teach me, not the other way around.

“HONEY!”

“Yes dear?”

“There’s another one! Another Baby right down the path a bit!”

“I know, dear.”

“What do we do?”

“The same as before. We take care of it and carry it with us down the path.”

“What about the other one?”

“She’ll help. She’s got a new title. Big Sister.”

I walked over to the newest creature laying on the ground in our path. The Big Sister was standing over it, sizing it up. She bent down and poked this new Baby. It looked at her and laughed. Big Sister laughed back.

I bent down and picked this new Baby up and grabbed Big Sister’s hand. My wife grabbed her other and the four of us continued on.

“HONEY?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Big Sister is different! What is going on?”

“She’s a Teenager, sweetheart. It’s okay.”

“What does this mean? What do I do?”

“It means we have to be careful. She wants to travel down paths by herself. We have to keep an eye out.”

“For what?”

“You’ll know it when you see it.” my bride told me cryptically.

I walked over to the Teenager and grabbed her hand. She pulled her hand away but kept close by. I looked back and could see the path of Imagination behind us. I wanted to go back there. The Teenager came to a stop at an arc in the path. She stepped forward a couple steps.

“Is this it?” I asked my wife.

“It is. This path is called Boys.”

I didn’t like this path at all. It was filled with dark corners and thorns and thistles. I looked at the Teenager, “Why this path?”

“Because,” was her simple reply and she stepped into this path without hesitation.

I felt something suddenly in my hand. I looked down and saw I was holding an ax.

“What do you plan to do with that, honey?” my wife asked.

“Nothing. Unless I have to. And if I do, it’s all coming down.” I said grimly.

But, despite my instant dislike of that path, she managed to walk in and out of it without harm. For now. I knew however, that path would be one I would always keep an eye on.

“HONEY!”

“Yes, dear?”

“The Teenager! What is going on now?”

“She’s grown up. She’s an Adult now.”

“What does that mean? What do we do?”

“Honey, this is the hard part. Going forward, there’s not much more we can do.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

My wife grabbed my hand and walked me towards the new Adult who was staring down a path I couldn’t see. “Watch her,” my wife said.

The new Adult turned towards us, smiled, waved and then turned back to the direction she had been facing. She then took off walking down this new path.

“Wait!” I said and took off after her. I came to a stop as some sort of invisible wall appeared before me.

“Doug. This isn’t our path. It’s hers. We can’t go.”

“What do we do?”

“We watch. We pray. And we love her.”

“Is it enough?” I asked her.

“It’ll have to be, honey.”

As the new Adult faded into the distance, I looked down to the other person who had entered our life on this path. She had turned into a Teenager as well. I bent down and grabbed her hand. “Fine, but this one we can keep around for the rest of our path, right?”

That Teenager pulled her hand out of mine and like her Big Sister walked down the road away from me a bit. Not far, but enough to know that I wasn’t going to like what my wife said.

“No dear, she will have her own path to go down one day.”

I stood up and hugged my wife and we watched as the new Adult disappear from sight. I gave my wife a look, “What do we do when they’re both on their own path?”

“We continue down ours. Their paths will intertwine with ours again, I promise.”

“How is it that you know all this?”

“I’m a Mom. I’ve known this for a long time.”

“I’m not sure I can do this.” I said, trying to wipe away the tears in my eyes.

“That’s why YOU aren’t doing it. WE are.”

With that, the two of us, with the Teenager, continued on down the path.

A Slice of Conformity

Posted by Doug White under Political

“BIGOT!”

“RACIST!!!”

“HOMOPHOBE!!”

“TRANSPHOBIC JERK!!!”

I am nearing on almost a half-century of life on this planet, and I have heard those four sentences above used more in public conversations on political issues in the last six years than I have in the previous forty. Not necessarily directed towards me, but just shouted from the rooftops from people who are simply not willing to accept that people have a differing opinion than themselves. They know that these sentences are “red-flags” and will cause people to hesitate, guilty or not, on any discussion on the issues of the day. In other words, the overuse of these sentences has taken away their meaning.

This has been another interesting week in our country’s battle towards one social perspective over another. We had a state create a law that was supposed to allow people to have the right to go to court to fight over whether or not they’ve been asked to violate their religious beliefs or not. It’s the same law that is enacted in nineteen other states and is a federal law as well – one signed by President Bill Clinton. Some famous people – including one I admire, George Takei from Star Trek – have argued it’s not the same law. I’ve read their arguments and I simply don’t agree.

So for a week, the left freaked out. There were boycotts, bans being put into place by other states to prevent government travel to this state and other various activities. And it appeared to have worked. The state changed their law.

My opinion on the law is complicated. I believe wholeheartedly that a person of any faith should have the right to not be forced to participate in an activity they have religious objections to. This includes not being forced to provide an insurance benefit that violates your religious faith. It includes not being forced to open up your home for a reception for a same sex marriage – even if you do so for heterosexual marriage events. And it includes not baking a cake for a same sex marriage too.

But on the flip side, I think you’re a hypocrite if you do this and don’t follow that through completely with all aspects of your faith. If you believe same sex marriage is a sin and don’t want to participate in the marriage with your business, fine. But if you then make a cake for a couple who are in their second or third marriage – you’re a hypocrite. If you make a cake for a couple who had sex before marriage – you’re a hypocrite. If you don’t want to provide contraception for your business because it violates your beliefs – great. But if you then personally use any form of birth control for your family planning activities with your spouse – then you are a hypocrite.

Here’s the thing though – YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE A HYPOCRITE. I may not like it, I may not do business with you, but you can be hypocritical to your hearts content. We should not be passing laws to prevent you from being this way.

And that’s where I have my issues with the left. The left don’t just want the businesses to make the cakes or provide the reception hall or the birth control. The left want you to believe EXACTLY AS THEY DO. You are no longer allowed to have a religious belief that goes against what they believe. Everything is open, everything is ok and you, my friends, are no longer allowed to be otherwise.

Or else, we’ll call you those names up above. We’ll show you. That’s how they think.

I used to think the issue of abortion will someday divide this country. And it may, it’s still a pretty sensitive subject. This issue though, I now firmly believe it will split this country in two. There’s simply no way to resolve this and keep the peace. A majority of the right want to go back fifty years where people who were gay hid in the shadows. The majority of the left want everyone to not have any religious objections to anything they do and they want to force those who do believe otherwise to either change their minds, or be the ones who hide in the shadows.

And I, as a newly Independent person politically, who is leaning more and more Libertarian everyday is sitting here thinking, “Is there no middle ground? Is there no way for everyone to exist and believe what they want and live their lives as they want? Must everyone conform, either left or right, to a set of beliefs? Is that the country we really want?”

This really struck a cord for me this week, when a reporter went out of her way to find that ONE business who would openly say they wouldn’t cater a same-sex marriage. The business was a pizza business – and I’m sure they get tons of requests to cater weddings, because a wedding isn’t a wedding without pepperoni stains on your wedding dress.

Let’s not even stop and think about the fact that this reporter only focused on Christian owners. Let’s not consider that there are reports of Muslim businesses who do provide service for marriage events but won’t for same-sex marriage. Let’s not focus on businesses, like one’s in Colorado who refused to bake a cake that had anti-gay tones to it. All that is ok, right? Let’s only spew our hate towards Christians…right?

Imagine this reporter’s elation when she found this one business who said this. “Finally! I can show the world how racist, bigoted, transphobic, homophobic Canadian bacon is on a slice, once and for all!” I can almost imagine her rubbing her hands in glee over this.

And it had what I am sure was her desired effect. A business that did NOTHING wrong, received so many death threats they had to shut down their business in one day. Woohoo! Way to go liberals! Are you proud? You brought down the livelihood of a family because they don’t conform to the way of the left! Good for you!

Well, no, that didn’t appear to happen, after all. A growing majority of people who have simply just had enough of this nonsense, donated to a fund-raising effort started for this business and gave them over $800,000 dollars in just a few days. I donated too, only $10, but I wanted to make a stand against what I truly believe is evil behavior on the behalf of those who feel anyone who disagrees with them must be destroyed.

If I owned a business, I would provide birth control for my employees. If I owned a business that made cakes, I’d make a cake for a same-sex wedding – even though my religious beliefs teach that it is a sin. There’s a lot of sin in the world, and taking a stand in this way, makes no sense to me. If homosexuality is a sin, it’s not up to me to do anything about it. God will handle it. I have enough sin of my own to deal with.

That is me, though. If a business owner has a religious belief that prevents them from serving me, I’m ok with that. I will take my business elsewhere.

You cannot build enough laws in the world to prevent hypocrisy. You cannot build enough laws in the world to force conformity. And why do you wish to? Are you that sure that everything those in power believe is what you believe? Do we want a country of automatons? Just marching around with the same thoughts and belief systems?

My country made me sad this weekend. Both sides made me sad. I expect better.

Absolute Freedom

Posted by Doug White under Political

I was a bit of a mouthy kid. If you ask my parents, they’ll probably tell you I was a LOT mouthy. I have a tendency to speak before thinking that still gets me even today as a 45 year old man.

As a kid though, it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to retaliate to any punishment that was given to me by my parents by yelling back, “It’s a free country! I have freedom of speech, ya know!”

Of course, obnoxious as I was, I was absolutely correct. I had the inherent right to say whatever was on my mind. My parents, as my caretakers, and as those God entrusted to instill some discipline in this young brat He’d sent their way, had the right to enact whatever punishment they saw fit for when I exerted that right and overstepped their boundaries.

Within reason, of course. After all, I was never hurt and it goes without saying, I was never killed.

Just how far does our “free speech” right go? Is it absolute? In this ever growing politically correct society, can America claim that we give each and every one of our citizens the right to speak their mind as they see fit?

This topic has been one of global attention lately. The murders of the individuals at the Charlie Hebdo magazine have brought this subject to the forefront in a grim and troubling way. If you aren’t aware of what Charlie Hebdo is – and if that’s the case, what rock have you been under? – they are a satirical magazine in Paris, France. They are apparently well know for poking fun at different people and/or religious organizations.

Just last week, over a dozen people were senselessly gunned down by people who were outraged over their cartoons about Islam and Mohammed. After all, nothing says you are a “Man of Faith” by emptying bullets into the body of another human being because they insulted your Creator.

Before I go to much further, let me take a minute and opine over the cartoons this organization has done in the past. They are offensive and quite frankly disgusting. It will forever be a mystery to me why people must insult the faith of another individual. I will never, ever understand that need to be that way.

I also will never understand the desire to kill those who do it.

I do not practice the Muslim faith. I am a Christian. I can’t fully grasp how much something like this insults someone who practices that faith. But, I’ve heard people call my God, “Sky-Daddy”. I’ve seen crosses put into jars of urine and called “art”. I’ve heard people call Christian’s delusional or suffering from a mental illness.

There is a nutjob who has written a book to this effect entitled, “The God Delusion”. Of course, this same nutjob thinks that you should kill your baby before it’s born, if it’s born with Down Syndrome. This speaks volumes to me about just what type of person he is.

We have a comedian – and I use this term loosely – named Bill Maher – who spends most of his time bad-mouthing all faiths. Again, this is a man who years ago on a national talk-show tried to excuse pedophilia as not as bad as being beat up. (http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2005/05/craig-ferguson-drops-bill-maher-on.html) Again, gives you great insight as to what kind of guy he is.

This Christmas, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the left’s idea of the smartest man on Earth, spent the day mocking those who celebrate Christmas. Nothing makes you sound so smart as saying, “You know what Jews call today? Thursday.” No kidding, sir. You know what most people call Mothers Day? Sunday.

These are rather mild cases of people who insult Christianity on a daily basis. I find these people quite offensive. I don’t buy their books, or watch their shows, but I do hear about them from time to time. My hope is people will wise up to their nastiness and they’ll eventually wither away.

No matter how offensive they get though, I have heard of no one who wishes to kill them. These people have the right to say whatever they want. I have the right to call them jerks and losers – and they are.

If we are to truly have the freedom of speech that we wish to have in this country, we must give these people the right to speak whatever they wish. We must allow those who want to dip crosses in urine the right to do so. We must allow people to mock Islam.

This doesn’t mean that we have to provide them with an audience. Free speech can have consequences. I have the right to call someone a jerk. If that person is my boss, they have a right to fire me. They don’t have the right to kill me.

Freedoms go both ways. If a person claims that a woman can’t be raped, people must have a right to decide he’s a moron and not vote for him. (http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/todd_akin_women_cant_get_pregnant_from_legitimate_rape_20120820) If a woman on a TV show says the rapist Roman Polanski wasn’t really trying to “rape-rape” someone, people have to have the right to say what a moron she is and not watch the idiotic show that pays her wages. (http://jezebel.com/5369395/whoopi-on-roman-polanski-it-wasnt-rape-rape)

No one is allowed to kill either person, no matter how stupid what they said was.

You can scream “Fire” in a crowded theater, despite what people say about that all the time. The consequences of doing so are that you get arrested for doing so, because you’ve put someone in harm’s way.

No one has the right to kill you for doing so.

While your freedom to speak your mind is absolute, it is not without consequence. Other people have rights too.

Now that we’ve established that no one has the right to kill others for what they say, let’s explore what the current Catholic Pope has to say about it shall we? (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/charlie-hebdo-pope-francis-says-those-who-ridicule-others-religions-should-expect-a-punch-9980192.html)

I am amazed that a man that many in the Catholic faith think is one step away from God Himself just said that physical violence is an expectation when you mock one’s faith. Seriously?

Quite frankly, the Pope is wrong. A person may lash out violently for what you say, but he has no right to do so. If you’re God is so sensitive that he’s calling you to harm others for cartoons or slights against him, than he’s no God at all. My God can take the insults. After all, He’s been doing so for thousands of years.

A lot of this blog has been about faith and people’s right to mock someone else’s faith. Many people have stood up in defense of Charlie Hebdo – myself included. Let me ask you some questions though.

      1. Do you believe the freedom of speech entitles someone to insult another’s race? Gender? Lifestyle?
      2. Do you believe that creating ‘Hate Speech’ laws are wrong?
      3. Do you believe in the right of others to own or produce offensive speech, such as pornography? (Keeping in mind, I’m speaking about something where the people involved are able to consent and willingly do so.)

If you said no to any of those questions, you are not a defender of free speech. Period. Freedom of speech must be absolute. Or it is simply NOT free speech.