Saturday, November 22, 2008

Milk and Honies

OK - I promised I would back off the political stuff, so here goes with an attempt back to normal posting, or at least as normal as the Urban Koda can be...

First, a little update on what I've been up to. Basically just working my rear end off, but I took a break yesterday to hang the Christmas lights (at least those that weren't left up from last year). In the process of which I succumbed to the nasty flu which has been ravishing my kids this past week. I did get the lights all done with the exception of a couple of tree which I need to finish wrapping. I'll post pictures next week when I get it finished up.

This morning at 4am, as I was dealing with the tail end of it, I decided to go ahead and go for my last triathlon of the season. It wasn't a big deal, just a short distance "Sprint" triathlon at the local university. It was reversed, so I didn't have to bike in my wet clothes, but it was still pretty damn cold. I got done in just over an hour, not my best time ever, but I think it's in the top three. Not bad after not eating for almost 2 days and being pretty dehydrated.

Second, I've been thinking a lot recently about trying to make a difference in the world. I've been reading a number of articles about athletes and others who are using their various hobbies and occupations to help improve the life of others. I have some ideas I'm working on, but I came across a new song, by an artist I like which I though my reader(s) might enjoy. I may share more of this artist in the future since a) I really like his stuff and b) he's trying to make a difference as well.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's a question of Love...

I just posted this on my FaceBook page. The video at the bottom touched me in a manner which I haven't felt in a while, and which I have missed. I beleive it to be the Spirit of God manifesting truth to me, others may view it differently, but however you see it, the feelings it inspires, leave me in no doubt where I need to stand on the issue.

I have some pretty strong opinions on Politics, Freedom and Religion. Generally I don't like to impose these on others, although I do share them elsewhere online from time to time. Recently however I have felt impressed with the need to share a little of these opinions here, on my facebook page. Responses have been mixed, ranging from peaceful and enthusiastic agreement to peaceful and vigorous disagreement.

I don't share this opinion as an attack on anyone else's beliefs or rights, but simply because I feel that I need to make my voice heard, rather than sitting by in silence and in so doing giving the impression that I support those with whom I associate or have associated in the past.

This morning during religious services, I was told that my current opinion places me in direct opposition to the Church with which I attend. A Church which claims to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet fails to live it fully. I don't believe that Christ ever taught that we should accept and embrace sin, however that sin is defined. Rather as in the example given in the New Testament of the woman who had been caught in adultery and was about to be stoned, he set a great example. At no point did he claim to embrace her choices, nor inflict injury upon her because of them Rather he protected her right to live, and allowed her to continue on her way. While the scriptures aren't specific, I like to think that perhaps he offered a kind embrace, some gentle words of encouragement, that she could overcome challenges which she faced and then the freedom to continue on her way.

I don't begin to claim that I understand any of the reasons behind those that live a lifestyle different from my own. For many, I am positive that it is not a choice they have consciously made. Whatever the reason, these people are fellow children of God, fellow brothers and sisters, fellow humans who seek only the same rights as I do for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As I listened to the message of pride, hate and intolerance in Church this morning, I was filled with an uneasy feeling that what I was hearing was wrong. It was not the Spirit of the God whom I worship. I've been struggling a little since that time, however in watching a video this afternoon on the blog of a good friend of mine, I felt a spirit that contained love, peace, happiness, and has helped me to believe that there is still good in the world.

Like I said, I don't mean to offend any who may read this. I'm not attacking your beliefs or asking you to accept mine. As the heading on the blog I copied this from included - I believe from the video clip itself...

It's a question of love for one another and human beings and for people who want to solidify that love in permanence and commitment.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lies, Deceit and Vicious Attacks

My Hell People!!

Well perhaps I should catch everyone up... Proposition 8 passed by a very narrow margin on Tuesday. In a campaign which was dominated by mistruths and fear mongering on both sides, the people spoke and proponents won, thus depriving homosexual couples the right to be married. I don't agree with it, but first, I'm not living in California, and sometimes things turn out like the way you would rather they didn't.

Those supporting the measures are understandably upset because the Utah based LDS Church got involved, and have now begun staging protests at LDS Places of worship. LDS leaders are now saying that they think both sides should have conducted themselves with civility and honesty - which would probably have been better said many months ago, when they sent letters to all their congregations in surrounding states, encouraging members to get involved whereever possible. Many members have since resorting to email campaigns which have been full of untruths and misdirection of the issues. The Church itself and members of it, donated 77% of the money to support the passage of Proposition 8. I think you already know my opinion on the fact that this was a waste of money that could have been far better spent elsewhere.

Last night a protest was held in Salt Lake City at the temple which despite early reports that only a few showed up, ended up numbering in the thousands. My understanding is that the protesters conducted themselves civility and that there weren't even any arrests. But, the story was filled with quotes of Church leaders talking about being unfairly targeted, and that it's not right that their houses of worship be the target of protests... "We were just exercising our democratic rights...."

People... YOU SENT LETTERS TO YOUR HOUSES OF WORSHIP ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED. These people weren't from California - It was a Californian issue, not a Utah, Idaho, Nevada or whichever state you tried to involve issue. People have a democratic right to protest your involvement, and I think it's very legitimate too.

Politics is a dirty business and when you throw your hat in the ring, you should expect to get some mud on it. Don't step outside the bounds of your religion and get involved in politics, and then complain that you're just a Church and shouldn't be targetted.

On other news, a Christlike member of my family decided to attack me on my Facebook page yesterday because I posted the 10 reasons why Gay Marriage is Bad. On another blog, someone who wished to remain Anonymous attacked me as well, and when then when I got to the heart of his argument told me that I was giving unintelligent answers and had the Philosophy of Satan in the marrow of my bones. I must admit, that I loved that last comment!

I'm not sure Christ is too excited about you invoking his name and then resorting to fear and lying to promote your agenda. The LDS Church also said that the protests are unfair, because the support of Prop 8 wasn't targetted against any group... WHAT?!?! You supported it because it would define marriage as only between a man and a woman, and the entire reason was to prevent Gay Marriage. It's as bad as your statement saying that this isn't anying against Gay People - WHAT?!?!

OK, so that's the last of my rantings about this on this blog. I hope to return to humorous anecdotes and obvious observations soon. Thanks for your patience with me!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Bad

Regrettably, Proposition 8 was successfully passed in California over this week. The campaign on both sides was filled with fear, mistruths and misrepresentations, that did no favors to either side.

To help transition from my commentary on social and political issues back to something lighter, I found this excellent list on The Gurli Life!

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Bad

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day!

I voted for the first time this morning, since becoming a naturalized citizen earlier this year. I've been a little undecided up until this point, but if you must know, my final vote went for Mr. Barrack Obama. My remaining votes for my congressional delegate and for various state and local races was split between the Democratic Party and the Libertarian Party - And just for the record, my vote for Governor of Utah went to the Democrats, not the complete and utter nut job put up by the Libertarians - Seriously now - WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING!?!?

I feel like I voted for candidates that had my best interests at the heart of their campaigns. My vote for Mr. Obama was not because he is a black man, but because he is an excellent speaker, will likely help improve the international opinion of the US (Not that it matters what other's think, but I would like to be proud to be an American and not have to qualify it with an "inspite of the warmongering moron in the White House.") and because he appears to have the best intentions. I am doubtful that he will deliver on his promises, but I think the odds are better that he will than Mr. McCain will.

As a final note and somewhat different topic - unless you live in California - This disturbed me last night... I make a very sizable donation to the Mormon Church every year as part of my membership. One reason I do this is to keep current on the 'pass' that gives me entrance to the Temples. Part of those requirements also require me to "swear allegiance" to Church leaders, both local and over the entire Church. Based on events in my personal life over the past year involving light bulbs, and stands taken by the Church, including but not limited to Proposition 8 in California, I don't feel like I can honestly answer that question in the affirmative. Which comes back to the donation I make. Maybe you should watch this excerpt from The Daily Show last night first...

$25 million dollars, mostly from members of the LDS Church and from what I understand from the Church itself (Although I could be wrong on this). Do you know how much that could by for the poor and needy? It bothers me that a Church which at one time was persecuted because their form of marriage was considered wrong would back something like this. I was also forwarded a transcript from a talk given by one of the very high up leaders of the Church, where he iterated multiple times what a good financial position the Church is in, as though that should somehow help strengthen member's faith.

This problem isn't just limited to the LDS Church, but many other Churchs as well, especially the Catholic Church with the riches and treasures stored at the Vatican which I have heard many describe as 'OBSCENE'. It makes you wonder if the whole purpose for a Church is mainly to enrich those at the head. Actually, I think anyone would have a really hard time convincing me that is indeed, not the case.

So in light of the millions of dollars donated to support discrimination, and the untold weath of an organization that claims to follow the example of Christ, yet fails to actually follow his example, my 10% donation this year may be finding it's way into the coffers of the local Children's Hospital, Remote Area Medical or some other Organization that actually does something to help people, rather than just talking about it.