There was is a story making it’s way around the internet this week concerning Dr. Ruth; which is and of itself hardly surprising. Dr. Ruth routinely makes news with her advice column, but normally it is because she either offers very sound advice or very liberal advice. It is easy, then, to see why her comments this week are creating such a stir. Dr. Ruth, apparently, is of the opinion that once a woman is naked in bed with an aroused male that she cannot say no to intercourse. To be fair to Dr. Ruth she made the comment in the context of campuses requiring staged consent, that is consent must be obtained for each stage or act in a sexual encounter, which many people have ridiculed as being over the top. In addition, this seems to be a somewhat religious position for Dr. Ruth given that she explicitly references the Talmud as the basis for her opinion. That having been said, it seems relatively clear to me that she is mistaken; at least in part. A woman, or a man for that matter, always has a right to withdraw consent and end a sexual encounter, always.
There was a recent post about politics on Gods and Radicals that started me thinking about the mechanics of liberal change in the American context. There has been a sizeable countercultural liberal minority in the United States for most of our history. This nation began, for example, with a large enslaved population and the resistance to that peculiar institution began at the Constitutional Convention itself. It would, however, require the greatest crisis our nation has ever known to finally drive the darkness of human slavery from our shores. The abolition of slavery is hardly an unique example. It seems that in the course of United States history that every liberal social movement has required a generous amount of time, a major crisis, or both in order to bring about substantive changes.
The greatest lie that capitalism has told us is that, the value of a person can be seen in the size of their pocket book. That the person who performs the most valuable service for our society will naturally be paid the greatest amount of currency for their contributions. If this were true, the implication is that CEOs, professional sports players, and the heads of various criminal enterprises would be the members of our society that contributed the most to our general welfare. The lie is obvious, and yet, somehow, we all fall for it at some point in our lives. We all look at our neighbor and think that we are somehow better or worse than them because we have more or less material wealth. We have all had unkind thoughts about the unclean, poorly garbed, hungry souls that haunt the periphery of our society. The truth, that capitalism wants us to forget, is that those of us who do the most for our society are usually those who get the least from it.
There are obligations in life that a man, gay or straight, cannot avoid or abrogate if he wishes to continue to be viewed as a man by his gods and fellow men. More importantly, perhaps, there are many of these responsibilities that he cannot shirk if he still wishes to view himself as a man. One of these responsibilities, for example, is that when needed he must answer the call of family when they are distress. It is his charge to protect them, care for them, and defend them from all harm regardless of the source. There are times when this will mean taking up arms, other times when he must be an orator and frame arguments, and still other times when he must soften his heart and take on the mantle of caregiver. These are not new ideas, they are quite possibly as old as mankind and they certainly date back to before Christianity marched across Europe.
The following narrative came to me today while I was working on other projects for work. The need to write it was intense enough that I succumbed and neglected other tasks to see it finished. It could be that some part of myself needed to see the words put to paper, or perhaps there is some other cause for my feeling that I needed to tell this story. I doubt I will ever know.
It is the story of a spiritual journey, my own, from the beginning to the present. In truth, it dances around some of the roughest patches, but the essence of it is pure as I can make it.
In recent days I have been reflecting on the nature of reality and the origins of that which we perceive as reality. I am not a professional physicist, but I read enough of the articles prepared for lay people to know that the science beginning to move past the idea of the big bang into the deeper mysteries of reality. Our scientists, in many ways, have become the shamans and holy men of our modern secular society. They plumb the depths, seeking to truly understand the nature of universes and the nature of reality that exists beyond, around, before, and after these constructs. For many people of faith this has become a source of intense cognitive dissonance because the nature of what our Scientist-Priests are finding is not in concurrence with a literal reading of their ancient religious texts. In Celtic Reconstructionist Druidism this, fortunately, is not a problem with which we must struggle.
This is not, strictly speaking, a post about paganism, polytheism, or druidism. I have not had much time to think on those topics lately due to being in the middle of finals for my doctoral classes. This is a post about the inordinate amount of stress the gay marriage debate puts on LGBT people, and me in particular. For anyone living under a rock in the Australian Outback, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is hearing a case today on gay marriage. The court is considering two basic questions. The first is whether or not gay couples have a right under the United States Constitution to get married; and the second is whether or not a state must recognize marriages conducted between same-sex people in a state where it is legal.