I'm sorry, but in the middle of your bl0g I lost track of whether you were writing about menus or marriage.
Mr. Feenstra has pointed out the incoherence in the argument already. As far as commonly held beliefs in the gay community -> could you please let me know of which gay community you are a member? Perhaps my own gay community keeps these things from me because I'm only bi, but I've never heard such a concern voiced.
RE: "@John Minor"
Cheap shot Heather, and beneath you --
A lot of things are beneath me - I'm very tall. Anyway, it's not like I called him an irritating, ignorant fucktard; it was just a cute little play on words.
Anyway, I got a lot of friends in low places. :D
RE: "it's not like I called him an irritating, ignorant fucktard"
Of course not - I can't possibly imagine you doing that --
She is sweetness and light normally.
The anti-bullying legislation finally making its way through state legislatures keeps getting caveats inserted to protect "sincerely held religious convictions" which is just a wordy way of saying "but we can't stop Christians from bullying gay kids."
Until recently, I lived in Oregon which had a series of trials prosecuting faith healer Christians for allowing their children to die by refusing medical attention. If we can do that to a religion, why can't we tell people that if they want to bully a gay, wait until s/he is grown up?
Actually, though, I'm somewhat conflicted. I actually see my rights as an atheist tied to those of unpopular Christian sects. There but for fortune go you or I.
Let's not forget about all the oaths sworn on holy books - which Atheists don't have. Supposedly the U.S. has separation of church and state but apparently an Atheist can't be sworn in as president. Several branches of the military have been caught persecuting Atheists as well - although that is slowly getting better.
Swearing an oath on a bible is not required in the US constitution, and the oath allows one to substitute "affirm" for "swear" as in "I <name> do solemnly affirm..." "So help me god" is not specified in the constitution; that's an add-on and I am not sure when presidents started adding it but it may have been in the 20th century. The constitution does forbid using a religious test for public office in the US, meaning they cannot pass a law saying you must be (or must not be) a <whatever> to be qualified for office.
Some state constitutions state you cannot serve in office unless you are a christian, but these have been held unconstitutional by the US supreme court.
On the other hand, it is probably impossible to be elected president (or to most public offices) in the US as an open atheist. No constitution can (or should) prevent people from voting their consciences and oh-so-many peoples' consciences are tied to their damn religion.
Steve - the Texas State Constitution specifically states that one cannot hold a State office in Texas without affirming a belief in god - not necessarily Christianity, but definitely in god, so I guess that's one that hasn't yet been constitutionally challenged.
I'd find you a URL, but I'm in a hurry to go somewhere - with your computer skills, you should have no trouble finding it.
If that's true about Texas, then it's definitely unconstitutional. Article VI: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
I grew up quaker, and was taught to affirm rather than swear. Everywhere federal government activity that requires such statements - whether for president, or serving in the armed forces, or getting your passport, or on the witness stand - you have the option of affirming.
Which leads me to one personal example of religious intolerance.
Couple years back, I was participating in training for a gov't gig that required reciting a statement ending in 'so help me god.' I quietly asked the trainer on the side if I could leave that bit out. He graciously said I could, and also told me to strike the words off the written version that we had to sign. Obviously, some of the other participants were listening in, because when the group recited the statement together, several of them turned pointedly toward me and raised their voices for that statement. I was thoroughly embarrassed and angry. I was publicly shunned, even though I had been relatively private with my action. The whole training, we all had been getting along swimmingly. It's not like they even had time to say anything to each other - to plan their action. It was surreal. And from that point on, some of them basically avoided any contact with me. I suppose if I had explained my quaker background, they might have changed their attitude toward me. But I didn't feel like I should have to make excuses for my perfectly legitimate action.
That's an excellent start. I'd only disagree about atheists not being able to be sworn in. The hand on bible and "so help me God" part isn't required.
But the fact that some states (e.g. North Carolina?) have constitutions that prohibit atheists from public office is plenty of proof that prejudice and intolerance is still condoned in high places.
It would be fun to watch the supreme court invalidate those constitutions. Perhaps one day someone will take on the challenge and openly run as an atheist for office just to force the issue.
(Whoops... and what SteveInCO said.)