Monthly Archives: February 2015

On Same-Sex Marriage and the Right to Marry Part 1: Intro

I’m currently swamped with law school. I have another research paper coming up and midterms. I also have have the Bar to prepare for and final exams will be coming up quicker than I’d like. I don’t want to neglect my blog so I decided to post a legal paper I wrote for class last year. I edited and formatted it for this blog. I also took out a good chunk of the more technical discussions of constitutional law and rewrote certain sections to make more sense for those who don’t speak legalese. Enjoy. I’ll be around for discussion and comments. I’m also ready for the inevitable charges of homophobia and bigotry; wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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“We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?” – Mildred Loving

In a few short months the fiery debate on same-sex marriage will come to head in the United States. The Supreme Court has decided to tackle the issue head on and decide once and for all whether banning same-sex marriage is constitutional. Leaving aside my anxiety at the thought of 9 people deciding what the supreme law of the U.S. should be, l wanted to start a series that discusses same-sex marriage and the right to marry. My goal is the show how a “right to marry” really makes no sense, given the decisions of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead to the legalization of other illegal relationships (incest, polygamy) if we are logically consistent.

Before we throw around phrases like “the right to marry”, it is important to know what this means. Even if we all have a right to marry, we still have state laws that regulate who, what and when we can marry. (incest laws, minimum age requirements, bans on polygamy, etc). This is kind of a funny thing to think about. People spout off statement this:

So you’re for incestuous and polygamous marriage as well?

… and don’t realize the the implication of asking for a right to “marry whoever you want to marry”. Most don’t even realize that NOBODY has this right to marry whoever they want. When you really start to look at this, you begin to realize how the right to marry as the courts state really makes no sense. The Supreme Court’s decisions in this area aren’t exactly helpful either as even they have a hard time determining the limits of this right to marry or why these limits are justified. I’ll begin by discussing the Supreme Court decisions next week. We’ll then get into the nitty gritty of this right to marry; then finally hone in on the meaning of marriage.

Now, remember, this is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment on constitutional law, marriage law or anything of the sort. There are other issues that might complicate things as the law is extremely complex… just like life.  So don’t complain that I didn’t cover every single minute detail that you may think is important. There isn’t enough space here; furthermore, most people don’t care for the fine details of constitutional law, family law, etc. Even I don’t and I’m in law school. Let’s see where this gets us.


50 Shades of Grey – Afterparty

These women look totally forced to consume the poison of literary porn

Look at these poor victims forced to consume their porn

It’s been nearly a week since 50 Shades of Grey came out and it has sold more than double its production costs. As of this writing, it has made nearly $100 million in the U.S. alone; production costs were around $40 million. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Women LOVE 50 Shades of Grey. What’s funny is that critics and viewers alike thought the movie was too tame.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with box office numbers; I want to draw attention to something Dalrock points out over at his blog. I think it illustrates my last point fairly well. Here is how the feminists at Jezebel described the audience watching the movie (some nsfw language):

The audience is about 98 percent female, and mostly in their early 20s. There are more Uggs than I’m used to seeing in New York, and, here and there, pairs of teeteringly high, seasonally inappropriate heels. Everyone looks a little abashed at first: this is a film best watched in sweats at home on the couch, but here we are, dragged in public like trenchcoated patrons at a porn palace. As the film begins, though, there’s a silken ripple of excited giggling. The whole thing feels very much like a sleepover.

A raunchy sleepover, that is. These are New York women: each sex scene is met with gasps, applause, appreciative snorts. Every joke, no matter how limp, goes over big. When we see a half-second shot of Christian’s pubes and the base of his dick, a woman behind me lets out a stifled half-gasp, half-moan, quarter-giggle. The same woman growls “yesssssss” at several relevant moments. She is not alone. This crowd is rowdy. This crowd means it.

There are lots of swoony sighs too: when Christian takes a lusty bite of Anastasia’s toast and says, “I’m incapable of leaving you alone,” the whole room audibly loses it.

Women lustfully gasping at sex scenes, applauding, giggling excitedly and growling “yesssss”. You would think this sort of thing happens only with guys. Yet, here you have women giggling with masturbatory delight at the unfolding action onscreen.

Imagine, for a second, a raunchy movie that had guys reacting like this. What do you think the reaction would be toward these guys? “Ugh, what a bunch of pervs objectifying women!” In addition, any Christian guy acting like that would be heavily encouraged to seek counsel in order to help him overcome his lust and sin. Great. That’s awesome. I’m glad you care about the spiritual welfare of guys. Now do the same for women who react similarly when they consume their porn. Do anything less and you are guilty of a pornographic double-standard.


Pornographic Double-Standards

With the Fifty Shades of Grey movie coming out in a few days, I figured I’d give my thoughts on this pornographic film electrifying experience in visual erotica. Here’s a quick summary to those who have no clue what I’m talking about. Some time ago, a book called Fifty Shades of Grey was released. It quickly became a cultural phenomenon selling millions. The book was infamous for introducing taboo sexual practices to a wider audience all involving domination and submission. The “story” involves a young woman meeting a tall, dark and handsome billionaire and they both engage in consensual S&M. That’s pretty much the entire story as far as I’m aware. The upcoming movie is based upon this book.

Before we begin, a few words on what this post is not. I will not be debating the morality of watching the movie, reading the book or engaging in the practices both the book and movie describe. Ask someone else for advice if you really don’t know whether you should go see the movie. I will also not talk about why women like this sort of thing or offer explanations on why women are drawn to this sort of thing. Others have done a far better job.

It is no secret that this book was a huge hit with the ladies. In fact, I don’t even know a single male who read the book for his own enjoyment. We guys joke around about being forced to read the book as torture; men just aren’t drawn to Fifty Shades of Grey. It is clear that this book wasn’t even written for men, nor the movie made for them. You can see this from the marketing strategy of the film; the marketing was designed to entice women and allow their curiosity to lead them into watching the movie.

In the coming weeks, “Fifty Shades” ads will blanket female-skewing shows like ABC’s “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder”… “Fifty Shades” marketing is taking advantage of Pinterest’s 71% female userbase, promoting the film with an extensive photo board… Female moviegoers are driving social conversations around this film in numerous ways… Over the past week, 86% of all retweets from the film’s Twitter account came from women.”

Women are reading the book and women will go see the movie. I didn’t think this was controversial. However, I did get into a conversation with a family friend who had this to say:

Big comment red

Well, actually that isn’t true at all. It’s clear from the marketing and the readership that this is a movie for women. There is a reason why the book is referred to as “mommy porn“. The movie, like the book will be popular with women and teenage girls because men don’t care for this sort of thing.

Now, I would like to point out something I’ve been noticing for the past couple years now. Christians didn’t cause a big ruckus when the book came out. In addition, I haven’t come across much material where Christians are condemning the consumption of this sort of literary porn. In fact, I know self-proclaimed Christian women who read the book and are eagerly anticipating the movie. These same Christian women were also very excited when that other “mommy porn movie” came out.

Pretty much since I hit puberty and took an interest in girls, I was warn about the dangers of consuming porn and how it was such a sinful thing for Christian men to do. We all know the verse used to support this. Here is my question, why are men constantly being warned, condemned and taught about porn consumption, but women are left alone. The usual answer is that women don’t look at porn as much as men do. Well if you define porn as “pictures or videos of hot, naked women having sex”, then you might have a point (though not a major one because this idea is questionable at best).

However, as I wrote before in Porn for Women, there is no essential difference between the porn that men consume and the romance novels porn that women consume. They both affect the consumer similar ways. Yet, I find it funny that men are constantly demonized for porn use, but women who read literary pornography like Fifty Shades of Grey are left alone . I will come out and say it, romance novels and literary erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey = porn for women; there is no way around it.

Let’s talk a bit about this double standard. I know of guys who confessed to their Christian girlfriends or fiances about their struggles with porn and became pariahs afterwards. This struggle with porn was considered a huge spiritual problem in the man’s life; the women are heavily encouraged to rethink their relationships if their boyfriend/husband have such problems. However, when teenage girls and now women read the equivalent, nobody says a thing. In fact, I’ll bet you my entire law school tuition (it ain’t cheap) that if a Christian man broke up with his Christian girlfriend because she loved books like Fifty Shades of grey, the man would be the bad guy. He would be the one who is being unfair, unwilling to forgive and afraid of commitment. Rollo Tomassi explains it this way:

That’s because men’s sexual personalities are ALWAYS cast as disgusting perversions when their point of origin is from the man himself. Women’s sexual personalities are embraced and sympathetic to the condition of women.

Woman masturbates = sexy and hot. Man masturbates = disgusting perversion.

I see this play out in the hype surrounding the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I had one family friend condemn the producer and writer for making the movie

Nothing wrong with placing some of the blame on the writer and producer.

Nothing wrong with placing some of the blame on the writer and producer.

However, I don’t see any blame being laid for those women who willingly go to see the movie and read the book. If there wasn’t a hoard of hungry women gobbling up the book, there would be no movie.. While the writer and producer might share some of the blame for creating the poison, the women themselves are freely choosing to ingest it. Why don’t we apply the same logic and only blame the producers and actors who make the explicit porn videos that men are fond of?

Honestly, I find this double standard sickening. If you have fictional books that cause women to lust, it is no different than images causing guys to lust. Both should be condemned; but I don’t see that happening in Christian circles. The women’s consumption is almost always downplayed relative to the mans just because it isn’t visual. This shouldn’t be controversial, but you’d be surprised. As I said before, guys doing porn are seen as losers, deviants and in need of some serious spiritual healing, but the overwhelming number of women who gobble up romance novels like Fifty Shades of Grey are not held accountable in the same manner. This needs to change.


On the Failure of the Modern Church

Apologetics is something that many Christians scoff at. Anytime you bring up apologetics, you can be sure someone will remind you that “you can’t argue someone into God’s kingdom.” Others look down on defending Christianity because it involves argumentation and that’s is a bad thing (nevermind the fact that arguing and making an argument are completely different things). Furthermore, I have been told that apologetics is useless because it detracts from Jesus and can’t save anyone. Spending a lot of time learning the ancient history, biblical culture, philosophy and metaphysics isn’t very “profitable”. All that matters is Jesus. Just get out there and preach to people. That’s what we should be doing. Spending lots of time learning about extra-biblical things is a waste of time. As well-meaning as they might be, Christians who believe this are wrong… very wrong.

There is one major reason why I spend a lot of time learning about church history, ancient culture and all that stuff. It isn’t to convert others, although I don’t doubt that it’s possible. The reason I do it is for young Christians growing in the church. Many Christian teens don’t have a deep grasp of Christianity. They don’t know exactly what they believe or why they believe. A recent study of conservative, Protestant churches revealed that

most religious teenagers’ opinions and views… are vague, limited, and often quite at variance with the actual teachings of their own religion… The church in general, and youth ministry in particular, has demonstrated… more interest in how our young people feel than how they think. … But where are Christian teenagers learning basic tenets of the Christian faith? And if they don’t understand those basic truths or doctrines … then how does that impact their long-term faith? I’m concerned that too much of our teaching is reduced to what can … be communicated by a worship band illuminated by stage lighting and well-placed candles.”

The author’s concerns are legitimate and the statistics seem to back him up. Some time ago, USA Today reported that about 70% of Christian youth leave the church:

Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 — both evangelical and mainline — who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research. And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church

In his book, You Lost Me, David Kinnaman writes that “many of the enthusiastic teens so common in North American churches are not growing up to be faithful young disciples of Christ.” So why are teens leaving the church? A recent Barna study had this to say:

Young adults with Christian experience say the church is not a place that allows them to express doubts. They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense. In addition, many feel that the church’s response to doubt is trivial. Some of the perceptions in this regard include not being able “to ask my most pressing life questions in church” (36%) and having “significant intellectual doubts about my faith” (23%)

More than a third of young adults with Christian experience see the church as hostile to doubts. Let that sink in for a bit. Furthermore, the teens view the church as intellectually stagnant. Frank Turek, founder of the Cross Examined ministry writes that

many [youth] leave because they’ve come to doubt Christianity. In fact, intellectual skepticism is a major reason cited by those who have left… We can lay the blame for much of this on ourselves — that is, on the church. While there are notable exceptions, most American churches over-emphasize emotion and ignore the biblical commands to develop the mind (1 Pet 3:15, 2 Cor. 10:5). In other words, we’re doing a great job performing for our youth with skits, bands and videos, but a terrible job informing them with logic, truth, and a Christian worldview.

Read that again; a major reason teens leave when they graduate is due to intellectual skepticism. Christian teens are distracted with concerts, pizza parties, missions trips, and “fun” outings, but they are never really taught to think about Christianity, to think critically and to interact with other perspectives that exist. I’m not saying these other perspectives are correct. But when Christian teens are fattened on emotion and feelings, their faith cannot possibly endure when exposed to other beliefs and perspectives. Once they leave the comfortable environment of their home church and faced with real hardship and doubts, those emotions and feelings will be useless. Furthermore, we cannot shield people from other perspectives and beliefs. Hemant Mehta, also known as the friendly atheist writes that “Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can’t protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.” He is right and instead of preparing Christians for engaging with their surroundings, most churches try to shelter the teens and fill them up with feel-good music and emotion.

I remember taking a Bible class during my undergrad years. The professor had all sorts of interesting things to say. The Bible was written and rewritten over a long period of time. Various editors throughout history have revised passages of the Bible to make it say what they wanted it to say. The Gospels were not written by eye-witnesses; they were written years after Jesus and his disciples had lived and died. Furthermore, they weren’t the only gospels; we have the gospel of Thomas, of Judas of Philip, etc, and these gospels paint a very different picture of Jesus. This only scratches the surface of what I was taught in that class. Yet, the churches I grew up in never mentioned any of these issues. Luckily, I’m very curious and did my own research. I learned that this professor was wrong on a lot of issues long before taking the class. Yet, I am sure that someone without prior exposure to such beliefs would have begun to significantly doubt their faith. I’ve seen it happen many times.

What is the church doing about this? Here’s a snapshot. I remember going to an ex-girlfriend’s church once. It was huge and had a ton of teens. I come from a small church, so this shocked me. The teen program was packed, full of music, lights, cameras and a hip, cool youth pastor who encouraged teens to fall in love with Jesus. Many teens had their hands in the air and tears in their eyes; the passion was palpable. This didn’t last. After high school, most of these people stopped bothering with church or Christianity; many have completely renounced Christianity completely as far as I know.

This is the world we currently live in. A world where Christian teens will be exposed to all sorts of beliefs and views when they graduate and go away to college. Because of this, I spend a lot of time learning as much as I can about the honor/shame culture of the ancient world, the formation of the New Testament canon, different interpretations of Genesis and church history. I believe that Christian teens who are exposed to these views early on in a safe environment won’t be caught off guard when they see these views in college. They will be more willing to investigate for themselves without feeling like the church misled them.

I want those growing up in the Church to have a deep understanding of what they believe and why they believe it. Only then will these Christian teens grow up fully equipped to engage their culture instead of running away from it. I firmly believe that teens won’t be so quick to leave the church if they learned more about these sorts of issues instead of being injecting with increasing doses of emotion and being told to fall in love with Jesus.


Feminists Try to Scream the Patriarchy Away

Do you ever sit back at night, staring at the stars and wondering what feminist music would sound like? Well, your prayers have been answered and it’s monkeys. A bunch of howler monkeys to be exact. Seriously, I’m not joking.

A bunch of feminists have decided to take a stab at the patriarchy by howling like monkeys creating feminist music. Just watch the video below. Really, you should. It’s just too good to pass up.

Am I right or am I right? Hilariously, this happens to be exactly how many people view feminists today, a bunch of screeching women that complain constantly when the world doesn’t change to suit their every whim. I really hope feminists come out and admit the last few years were all one big joke because that’s exactly what modern-day feminism has become. Thanks Dalrock.