Monthly Archives: August 2012

What I miss most about Britain

or… how America turned me into an activist.


I am often asked what I miss most about Britain, and have been since I first landed in the good old US of A. I knew I missed something big, but I could not put my finger on it. So, I often answered very flippantly: ‘Marmite‘,

or ‘Ribena

or, perhaps if I was talking to someone older and wiser: ‘my friends and family’.

I do of course miss those. Especially my friends and family, but that never quite summed up the ache in my heart. I wondered if it was bigger: public transport?

Again, I do miss that, but the answer isn’t satisfactory. Again, while I applaud and support the development of a wider public transport system I can be happy without it. There is something I find it difficult to be happy and content without, and that I have yet to find here in America:

Being trusted, protected and respected. And because of that, we are to some extent: humble.

Hmmm… let me elaborate with some examples:

In the UK, believe it or not, people do have a fairly strong personal moral codes, that encompass all the current political ‘hot topics’ from abortion, to homosexuality, to healthcare, to contraception. But that is the key: they are personal moral codes. That is: yes, contraception is as easy to get as candy – for everyone. The young, straight, gay, unmarried, old, married, male, female, rich, poor and all alike. That isn’t to say that everyone is encouraged to be ‘at it’ all the time: some people are indeed so, and some people are not. We are trusted to make my own decisions about our sexual relationships, and protected as much as possible from any consequences.

My personal story is that I decided sex before marriage was not the course for me. Then I decided to have sex before marriage, then I later changed my mind and stopped, after deciding through personal conversations with God, that it hadn’t been the best choice for me, and as my husband put it, He had ‘kicked my tail’ for it :). In England was respected for all these decisions (even though at very step of the way someone didn’t agree with them), and I was protected from any consequences. By the law, and by society (including by my parents). People are humble enough to accept that they do not know the right answer for individuals, or for society, or certainly for God, and so individuals are given all the tools they can be provided with make their own decisions, with minimal negative consequences.

I findthe moralizing and judging that goes on in America very difficult. When I expressed the view that contraception should be freely available to all, one outraged response was “Why should *I* pay for *you* to have sex??” – the implication being that sex before marriage (or sex at all – who knows) was not this person’s choice, so why should they financially support my choice if it was different? Because, here is the thing: we all make choices, and we all make choices that others disagree with and have to pay for. Whether it is the food we eat, the dangerous sports we play, the people we sleep with, the lack of exercise we undertake, the lack of sleep we get, the speed of our car, the stress of our job, our plans to travel, our decision to be married (or not): all of these are decisions that likely will affect our health and in the UK there is no moral judgement about which choices you make. Again, you are trusted to make your own decisions, and protected from them. I was so saddened today to read of doctors in America turning away patients over 200lbs: how can that be acceptable? How can you judge that you won’t help these people, but those with stressful jobs you will? Were any ‘decisions’ really made?? And if they were, who made the worse decisions? And can’t we be humble in recognizing our own mistakes and helping protect people from theirs?

This is how I arrived at my stance on abortion. Yes, personally I think it is wrong. I am: anti-abortion. But, I would never take away someone’s right to make that decision themselves: I am pro-choice. And I would never judge someone who had suffered through an abortion. Were you a friend who came t me in need, I would support, and respect you and care for you. I am anti-abortion for me. I am pro-choice for everyone. When does life ‘start’ – how should I know? How should anyone, except God, know? If you don’t believe in God then look to Scientists, or feelings, or some other deities. Either way: there is no answer. Be humble enough to know that you do not know, and trust yourself to follow your own moral / personal code, and respect other people enough to decide theirs.

I guess I miss this trust, respect, protection and humility and how it reflects on my faith as well. To me: faith is very personal decision. The cornerstone of my Christianity is a deeply personal relationship with God. I don’t think I have got it ‘right’ (other than that I love Him above all others, and am forever grateful He sent His only Son to die for my sins), but I don’t like (1) being told how to live my faith and life and (2) being judged and punished by anyone but God when it doesn’t conform to their perceptions of what my faith / life should be. My reading of the Bible is that it is outside the law: so the law should extend complete equality and a basic code of rights to all law abiding citizens, and one’s relationship to God is what decides how you choose live within that. Isn’t that ultimate freedom?

You know – I don’t agree that God asks for no contraception and no masturbation. But, I respect that some Christians do, and I will protect their right to execute these choices. I am humble enough to think: maybe they are right, but I trust myself to be guided in my own moral code (it of course, doesn’t have to be a religious code). I also *do* personally think that God asks us not to look at pornographic images, but I acknowledge I could be wrong, and respect people who do such, and certainly am humble enough NOT to judge them. Hence, much as I don’t really like the porn industry, I would not seek to punish people for accessing it. I might seek to educate and protect but as maybe I am wrong, and pornography is the healthiest thing for mankind: I would not deny others access.

I guess a good exemplary of this, is how the UK taught me about the whole creationism / evolution debate. We learned about evolution in Science. We learned about the support for evolution, and we learned about the phenomena evolution perhaps could not explain, and the criticisms leveled at evolution science. We were told that evolution was studied in Science because it was a Scientifically testable theory, but the completing theory was not, and so the alternative was mentioned in Science, but we would learn about that in Religion. Almost simultaneously, in Religious Studies, we were were taught about creationism and the arguments for / against, including again, the criticisms  leveled at evolution. (We were also taught some non-Christian but religious creation arguments). We were supplied with the facts, told that no one knows the answer, and trusted to make up our own mind. My ‘mind’ and opinion evolved (pardon the pun) over time, but it never caused me much distress. When we covered this topic in Bible group we listened to people defend and criticize the Biblical view of creation, and to people try to synthesize the two. All views were respected as potentially correct.

And through all this, I have friends who have made utterly different decisions to me: health wise, sex wise, religion wise. I love and respect them all: I don’t think either one of us is ‘better’ than the other. I do think those who do not believe that Jesus died for our sins are not going to heaven – and while this is sad, this does make me think I am better person, or that I have any right to tell them how to live their life (incidentally, much as they love me, many of them think I am gullible at best and a crazy ‘magical thinker’ at worst 🙂 ). We just all live our lives, respecting each other’s choices, and trying to protect our loved ones from any potential consequences of their decisions.

The upshot of this is that Christians are not really hated in England. I was shocked when people in America seemed to get angry or passionately against Christians. How can you be so against peaceful (now… history is a bit different, tiz true) people, who are told to – above all else – love each other. Then I totally saw why: some Christians are trying to force a life on people, based on a belief system these people don’t have! Good grief! I would hate Catholics if they took my contraception away! I would equally have hated atheists if they had insisted I had sex before marriage (returned to. Ahem.). And, I think some Christians are trying to impinge on my personal relationship to God, by telling me how to live out that relationship, when the only voice I want to hear about that comes from God Himself. Not saying I will get it right… but I have no reason to think you will do a better job, either.

A more succinct summary of my views.

So, that is what I miss in the UK. I miss freedom to practice my faith in my way. I miss respect for my religious choices. I miss respect for my non religious choices. I miss a law system in which I am afforded equality and power and protection from the consequences of choices – be they mistakes or not – and a society that trusts me to make my own decisions within that.

I think my most passionate wish at the moment is that my child be bought up to respect and trust other people’s decisions, and to never judge law-abiding others as ‘wrong’, or deny them equality for these decisions. And to feel free to make his own decisions about his life, and his body and his views as he feels is right for him.

Image credits:

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb.html

http://nannyknowsbest.blogspot.com/2011/05/dangers-of-marmite.html

http://offriendsfoodandfun.blogspot.com/2010/08/homemade-snake-bite-d.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-decker_bus

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…Hello third

29 weeks

Nicely zooming into the third trimester. We have insurance, we have an OB, I feel great (although my body is giving up a little) and we have a high risk doc monitoring us (but all seems to be well)… yes, quite a bump ride to get here 🙂

New Obstetrician

Just a small bit of politicizing and I will move on, I promise: Look, I’ll even put a spoiler so you can skip past my bleeding heart liberal views if you like – just scroll right down until you see the ‘end spoiler’.

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Hmmm… well, I finally found a doctor who would give me prenatal care. Due to Texas’ wonderfully sensible state laws… I could not have health insurance sponsored by the state (I am technically a state employee) for 2 months. And due to health insurances reticence to cover any ‘pre-existing conditions’ (which I do understand) I couldn’t get temporary care. Wonderful. To those like the genius Ron Paul (and I use the term ‘genius’ in the same tone as ‘wonderfully sensible’ above) who say:

Know this: your views are as old as you. You do not understand that we now save lives (and a heap load of money) initially through learning to enact preventative care programs, and then latterly through increasing the efficacy of those programs by enacting screening programs. Some would say NIH are investing vast sums of frikkin’ money on developing the best early markers with which to screen for diseases… so we don’t end up in emergency care. But you know – what do public health researchers know?

To Mr. Paul I say: My ‘routine doctor visits’ for the last 3 weeks have come in at over $3,000 (holy smokes). Covering the 6 week gap would obviously have been even more expensive. Do you really think it is reasonable to expect couples to find that money over the course of a whole pregnancy?? And what happens when you expect them to over a short period? No healthcare. Which is what I, a public health researcher, chose. Aye.

So no OB wanted to care for me as I had had a ‘gap in care’ until I stumbled upon the lovely Dr Boswell at Texas Children’s (Women’s Specialists of Houston sub branch). OK, no more politicizing for the whole of this post.

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Gaily I went off to see Dr Boswell, where we discussed (1) my signs of early labour, coupled with (2) my battered cervix (a colposcopy, cone biopsy and laser treatment in the past) which means it could either (a) not open at all, or (b) act like a pressure-triggered trap door at the slightest pressure like… er… a growing baby, tripled with (3) a septum (large piece of fibrous tissue) across my uterus, which means some of uterus is ‘cut off’ leading to more pressure overall as space becomes a premium. All-in-all she felt this combination of things may not be a good thing. So… off I went to Baylor to a high risk OB / GYN.

Woo-hoo extra ultrasound. This is Firework lying at the bottom, face up, flexing his muscles like his douchey Mum used to.

So the high risk OB did a whole anatomy scan, which (shutting my ears to the crusty side of me that wants to listen to voices saying that scans are not a good thing) we thoroughly enjoyed. Firework did not, he kicked and wriggled away, and kept PURPOSELY putting his hand in front of his face so we couldn’t see it. Git.

We did get a picture of the young ‘un though. He obligingly acted like his Ma in her pre-pregnancy days and flexed his muscles for larks (I used to be a body builder). I am suspicious that he was also acting like his Dad and showing off to any passing nurse. Hmmmm. He was also quite big at 3lbs when they would expect 2.5lbs. Good lad.

Anyhoodle. We discovered that FW, like the MMA fighter we would love him to be, had just kicked aside my septum and made himself some nice room. And that I have one hella long cervix (4.8 cm at 29 weeks, when they expect ~3 cm) which should hold him in tightly. Of course, you can’t go to any doctor and actually come out feeling healthy: they did find that I have vast amounts of amniotic fluid. Vast amounts, but not quite vast enough to panic.  Usually they suspect a baby with no stomach, or a genetic abnormality: but much searching found no evidence was found of such.

Personally, I am not worried. Back in my initial scans they said I had a giant uterus. No one was concerned then, and I am not now. I go back in 2 weeks to see if the fluid is increasing, decreasing or staying the same. Alrighty then. They did say that big ol’ amounts of fluid are heavy are so preterm delivery is more likely, but hey – nothing we can do about that now. So basically in the ‘will I give birth too early, or have to have a C-section in the end’ battle it is just a battle between:

Big baby and his excessive fluidy surrounds

vs.

scarred up (movement resistant) big ‘n’ tuff cervix.

I could deliver hella early or basically not at all and need a C-section (which TERRIFIES me). I am removing myself from the whole thing and tired of the medicalization, and – while I LOVE my whole OB practice, especially Dr. Boswell – just letting them poke me and prod me while I mentally skip through fields of daisies and ignore them and see what happens. THEY can fuss and worry, I can deal with the birth as it happens.

How I am feeling

29 weeks, 4 days

Other than that, I am blessed to be feeling super well. My bump has remained pretty small (in the clothes pictures I angle it to look nice and big) which has made it easy for me to sleep and move about and not feel icky and encumbered. I do generally sleep very well (even on my stomach sometimes) and can quite forget I am preggo.

My body is starting to give in though: my feet are swelling like balloons, my hips and legs often hurt if I try and run anywhere (like for an elevator) and I do get pretty tired pretty early (which does allow for DELICIOUS 10 hour sleeps). Also, as Firework and his home are very large (all that water) and I am pretty small still (a situation I like to call ‘bloody ideal and I am glad I worked on my abs for so long’) my insides really are squished. Really squished. But again, as FW seems to be getting all the energy he needs, I am happy my appetite is controlled and I have been able not to gain a whole heap load extra so far.

Weight gain at 29 weeks: 14 lbs. Just back from a road trip though (mmmm… ice cream) so I wouldn’t hold me to that trajectory at the next update 😉

Finally

FW is breech! Which is OK for now, but I am going try spinning babies alongside being better at doing my Bradley exercises – why not?

28 weeks, 3 days looks like:

This when in clothes!

Blog redesign

OK, in the spirit of having to rethink my blog anyway, I have redesigned my blog. So, I will keep this blog as my main blog, with all my posts being posted here. I will copy and paste the work ones over to my UT blog, but they will be here as well. Copy and paste is easy, and this seems the simplest solution to keeping my salary-payers happy 🙂

But… in thinking about navigating my blog (e.g. non academics having to trawl through tenure worries) I have rearranged: all the posts from the main three categories (Work, travel, family) are now separate pages. I have also rearranged my categories to better reflect the main contents of the blog.

There are still a few bugs to be ironed out (and I clearly have too much time), but I do love my little blog and I feel better about this layout.

Blog help please!

So, work have given me a work blog, which they want me to write. Fair enough. I will say that UT’s blog set up is pretty crummy at the moment – although it is wordpress, it is hard to see archived posts and not very user friendly. I will only use UT’s blog if they fix all this.

If I go ahead, I am not sure how to proceed with having two blogs. I had thought about having two blogs before, but it seemed messy and annoying. So, I just mixed my personal and professional posts together in one blog, under different categories, but always wondered whether a real mixing of the two was not ideal – I wondered if I was turning non academics off with my rumblings about papers, and academics off with my ramblings about Firework.

So, the work blog could be quite good, as a lot of my friends are not academic and I imagined their eyes glazing over at talk of genes and tenure promotion. And some of my readers are academic and my recipe for cookies perhaps not their cup of tea (although said cookies should absolutely be enjoyed with such). But, I have got some really nice comments (emails… Facebook comments) on my work-related posts. And actually, the nature of the posts does not correlate with how i know the person. So, I clearly got it wrong, and the mixed blog was working well.

So now, I am wondering about how to manage the two blogs – especially as the work blog does not have a subscribe button. Should I:

1. Keep the two separate. Only personal posts here, and academia-related posts in the UT blog, and ne’er the twain shall meet.

2. Keep the two separate but post links to the UT blog entries here on the personal blog, as an entry.

3. Write the work blog, and copy and paste the posts as their own post here. So essentially this blog will remain the same, but parts of it will be duplicated on my UT blog.

What do y’all think? What would work best? Or do you have any other suggestions?

Help appreciated 🙂

P.S. This reminds me to thank you all indeed for the comments you make – I love getting them 🙂

Two weekends of hometown touristin’ (pic spam time)

Sunrise over Houston

After really enjoying looking a little around my new hometown of Houston a few weeks back, I gave it another go for two weekends… but for different reasons.

Reunited… if only for a weekend

2 weeks ago my bestie Clio came all the way to Houston to see the bump (and me, I hope). We spent a lot of time discussing the serious issue of what R-Patz was going to do now, and whether K-Stew had done it for publicity and what the heck was going to go down with TomKat (you know, the important stuff). We also shopped until we dropped (hello Nars Orgasm, OPI blue me away and some cunning black tie-up wedges), visited the Cheesecake Factory and watched an appalling amount of trash: basically, did everything I have been missing since moving here and getting me back on track to feeling human.

However, I did feel that Clio should not be held captive and forced to give me the social interaction I have been craving. So we took a quick jaunt down to our local seaside town of Galveston and its ‘pleasure pier’. It was fun, although honestly? British peeps should think an over priced Brighton without all the yummy food stops or the impressive shopping lanes… yeah, a little limiting. As if to prove my point, the weather was also terrible British-esque, which led to a disastrous hat decision by me. Anyway, looking quite a lot like our honeymoon Brighton photos (but with the tremendous addition of young Clio) this is our Galveston pic-spam:

Clio declined joining in on one of these pics… wonder why?

I don’t know WHY I put this hat on

It was fun… and when we got home poor Walter got to be ridiculous and have a much hated bath:

Very unflattering whale-like photo of me… but Walter looks cute

All over now with a consolatory cuddle

This weekend, hmmm… well I don’t know if I was scammed. I signed up to a cake pop class on Groupon. The company *looks* legit on their website… and when I emailed them, they were responsive and booked me in for this weekend. Now, weirdly, the website does not have an address, but the Groupon coupon did. So along I went this Saturday morning. The address listed: 907 Franklin Street was an abandoned (and locked) office. But at 909 (an apartment complex) the concierge told me that Tastee Tees was 2 doors down – 917, next to a restaurant. Indeed, 917 was next to a restaurant. But, it was locked and I could only see a hallway with lots of doors coming off. So I called Tastee Tees… no answer (but I did get a professional sounding answer phone). I didn’t find this that odd, as I didn’t expect them to be answering if the business does not open on a Saturday, but they were teaching a class. Left a message… nothing… left another… nothing. Rang incessantly (thinking that if I uninterrupted the class enough they might answer). Eventually a woman answered with just as single “Hello”. “Hi,” I said, “Is this Tia [the owner of Tastee Tees]?”. “Yes”. “Hi, I am trying to find my way to your cake pop class and was wondering if you could tell me where it was, please?” *cue lots background noise…* “Hello… hello? Hello?”. Nothing. No call back. And they didn’t answer when I, and subsequently Wes, phoned back several times.

So… really weird. I was seriously excited to go cake pop making (I actually woke up on Friday with the words “Do you know what tomorrow is? Cake Pop Day!!”), so was seriously disappointed, and I will be seriously ticked off if I was scammed. What do you think? Is it a scam? Is that plausible? I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, not to have the whole day ruined, I explored the ‘Historic’ ‘Theater’ and ‘Skyline’ districts of downtown Houston. It was awesome: very different to the rest of Houston (and much more Southern looking). Beautiful parks, and quite a bit going on:

When I got back, this time, Robert was being ridiculous:

Making a Mural for Firework

I am nothing, if not stubborn. I got a bee in my bonnet about having a tree on Firework’s wall. Which was going to be simple, as I could just order a nice wall decal (i.e. sticker). After much searching and deciding and comparing and pintresting and getting over the $100+ price, hubby and I decided to go for it. Alas, the new home has textured walls and decals won’t stay up. So I decided to stencil one on. Hubby was skeptical and very unenthusiastic, until he saw my canvases. So, we decided to go for it… except we could not find the tree I wanted. So, I decided I would just draw a tree o the wall! Yeah! How hard could it be? I mean, we’ve all been drawing trees since we were – like – 2, right? Green lollipop with a brown stick.

Little bit of my, ahem, artistic ‘talent’. I went to a super competitive school where we were drummed to be successes and basically forced to be so: the school would do whatever it took to get you to pass their end of year exams. Except, it would seem, actually pass me in Art. Seriously, I tried, but I remain the only girl to fail an internal LEH art exam. Sigh. And, really, quite fairly so. Years later, as a special ed teacher, my ‘art’ was the mirth of my friends, and the despair of my assistants. Lucy politely and in a roundabout way, basically asked if she could redo all my displays, as they were so dire. I said yes *hangs head*

But. Hormones. Age. Memory loss. Stubbornness. Whatever. I decided to make one for FW. Here is how it went:

1. Draw pic on giant paper:

2. Spend three days redrawing and refining pic:


3. Paint in proposed colours:

4. Cut out pic:

5: Tape on wall:

6: Draw around outline in chalk

7: Paint around outline

8: Fill in (painstakingly and boringly. Twice):

9: Paint accents:

10: Outline in black, adding detail:

11: Finally: add name in wooden letters ($1.99 each from Hobby Lobby), you have painted white.

Obviously this is edited on the computer not to show his real name 🙂

Voila! I am actually pretty pleased. No Picasso, or Monet, but I like it. It’ll probably be the bane of the kid’s life.Now we have to decide on cot (US: crib) colour. I say: white, he says: black. We’ll see.

If *I* can do it, trust me, anyone can. Here’s hoping some of you are inspired to give it a go…

My Christian Perspective on the Chik-Fil-A debacle

Ah, America. Your panties are in a bunch again. As are mine, to be fair. But, I have had time to pray, think, read, sleep on it, cry, laugh, cry some more, and now, maybe, put it to bed. This post is my catharsis before I, also, go to bed.

First, a quick primer for the non-US readers out there. What happened with Chik-Fil-A this week? Well… Chik-Fil-A are a Southern-US originating fast food chain. I understand that they make delicious fried chicken. This is apparently not up for dispute. Their stance, and more importantly, practices towards homosexuals has been up for debate for years: when my ex-officemate first arrived in my office she asked me not to judge her for giving in to a random craving and having some chicken fingers from Chik-Fil-A.

Anyway, in the last week the CEO came out and reaffirmed his stance he absolutely defended “the biblical definition of the family unit”. Trust me that the CEO’s implication that he does not support, and will seek to prevent, any other versions of marriage: including post-divorce marriage (or divorce at all) and gay-marriage. Plus, much of Chik-Fil-A’s profits (and I purposely use the ambiguous term ‘much’ because the exact % depends on your source) goes to the WinShape foundation, which among other (sometimes positive) activities fights gay rights.

So, with the CEO recently reaffirming his stance, it all came to a head and it was said that if you support gay rights (i.e. equality for gay people), you should not eat at Chik-fil-A. Which, to me, seemed fair enough. The backlash came when Mike Huckabee said “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles [and] the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often… if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant…. Simply affirm appreciation for a company run by Christian principle [and eat at Chik-Fil-A on Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day] [Read more].

In effect, Mike is saying “make a stance that you oppose equality for homosexuals”. I am sure many Brits may find that hard to believe, as in general, Britain does not have such vociferous calls against equality. But. Trust me. In the US, and the South particularly, the voice is all too strong.

Here are my last remaining thoughts on the matter:

1. Brits (and some Americans): To understand why this is such a contentious issue, you do need to understand how extreme the inequality between homo- and hetero- sexuals can be.

2. Americans (and some Brits): Make no mistake, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with defending the first amendment (freedom of speech).

3. As a Christian I feel absolutely no compunction to ‘oppress’ or ‘prevent’ gay marriage. But,

4. As a Christian I feel absolutely compelled to extend equality of rights to all.

5. Americans: You do know that your laws are NOT supposed to be based on religion: right?

OK, in a little more detail:

1. Brits (and some Americans): To understand why this is such a contentious issue, you do need to understand how extreme the inequality between homo- and hetero- sexuals can be.

I think I will only need to say 2 things here to really knock the wind out of my fellow Anglos (and probably upset them quite a bit):

A. In 28 States it is legal to fire someone just for being gay. I am serious. And people oppose overturning that legislation. Let me just repeat that because it may be so shocking that it does not sink in: In 28 States it is legal to fire someone just for being gay.

B. Healthcare is (famously) not universal and expensive beyond belief. As healthcare is often employer-sponsored, employers in at least 28 states have the right to deny the legal partners / spouses of gay employees healthcare. That is, in over 1/2 of American states, if you are a man (or woman) who does not work (or is self employed, or is a carer or provides daycare for your children) but is married to someone of the same gender who does – you can be denied basic healthcare that a heterosexual person would get. Healthcare. HEALTHCARE, people. No healthcare for being gay.

These things blow my mind away. I hope they do yours too.

So. It this whole debacle is not a trivial thing. Point 2:

2. Americans (and some Brits): Make no mistake, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with defending the first amendment (freedom of speech).

Perhaps embarrassed by the real reason people want to take a stance against Chik-Fil-A some have started to bleat “But I am defending free speech”. YOU. ARE. NOT. I doubt any rational opposer to Chik-Fil-A is actually saying “Gee, I wish the CEO of Chik-Fil-A hadn’t been allowed to say that, so that I could eat my burger in peace and not worry that my money was being funneled to anti gay groups. Gee, I really wish I could support business who are totally against my beliefs and values, just without knowing it”.

Get real.

What opposers to Chik-Fil-A are actually doing is DEFENDING the First Amendment, because the whole damn reason the free speech can work in a civilized (ha!) society is that people can then vote with their feet, or their mouths, or their chicken. It works because people have the freedom to say “hey, this company is totally out of line with my values. I ain’t putting my money there”. I suspect, more Chik-Fil-A opposers would like more companies to openly declare their policies so they could decide where to frequent. i.e More Free Speech. So. Shut up about your first amendment.*

OK, so onto the actual issue: should Christians be making efforts to oppose gay marriage? This is trickier one, and clearly above is fact, and below will be my perspective:

3. As a Christian I feel absolutely no compunction to ‘oppress’ or ‘prevent’ gay marriage.

I will openly admit, with apologies to anyone I offend, that I do not know if God opposes / does not recognize / is hurt by homosexuality / gay marriage. I am fairly sure I can axe all of Leviticus in terms of an ‘instruction manual for living life after the resurrection of Christ’. In fact, the whole Old Testament. It is a useful historical lesson, but let’s face it: a whole bunch is, seemly at random, chucked out (anyone now being forced to marry their dead husband’s brother? Anyone now being stoned for cussing?)? And let’s also face that the God-man relationship was not exactly rockstar at this point. He didn’t send down his only Son and then sacrifice him for funzies. He sent Him down because we (man) were a mess. And let’s note, that he didn’t send down someone to radically enforce the Old Testament laws. He send someone down who scrapped a lot of them: circumcision, food regulations and whatnot. So, I am not convinced you can live by this. The New Testament is less clear, and notably: Jesus was silent on the matter.

So: I don’t know. Luckily for me, I don’t need to know, because I was (am) in love with a man, and got to spend the rest of my life with him. As for others: not really my business. I have way too many (way too many) sins of my own to start worrying about the potential sins of others. Especially those sins that I don’t know for sure are sins. I mean, were I perfect: maybe I could turn outward a little more. But, my the definition of the fall of man I am not. By that definition: I am sinful. So, I really don’t have the right or impulse to judge others, who are the same as me. Let he without sin cast the first stone and all of that.

I have zero idea what Judgement Day will look like. But, I am pretty sure I will be too busy answering questions about why I couldn’t forgive and love all my fellow man? Why I did have sex before marriage (although I gave that up…)? Why I didn’t honor my parents at all times? Maybe: why do I have lustful thoughts for other women (and Channing Tatum. And John Stewart)? And suchlike. Really: by definition of the fall of man I’ll be having a whole load of repenting of my own to do: it is going to get out of control if I also have to repent for the sins of others.

I would ask other Christians to consider the same: and if you think ‘homosexuality’ is a ‘special’ sin because people don’t repent and continue to live in sin. I ask you this: are you divorced? Are you remarried? Do you hold on to jealousy or hatred? Maybe you too should be fired from your job at will. Or maybe, you should recognise that IF you think homosexuality is a sin (and I am not sure I do) that you are just as much a sinner, yet you get all sorts of wonderful legal rights, and God’s forgiveness.

So, then as I don’t feel compelled to be arrogant enough to decide I know God’s will, and prevent ‘sin’ in others, so also:

4. As a Christian I feel absolutely compelled to extend equality of rights to all.

Little bit of love people. Little bit of love. Let’s not deny healthcare and employment rights to people who are in sin as much as us. We all sin. We are all fallen. We are all trying to figure it out. I don’t recall Jesus denying food or healing to anyone… so let’s not do the same ourselves – K?

Of course, all this is slightly irrelevant (just random ramblings on my own version of Christianity) when you realize:

5. Americans: You do know that your laws are NOT supposed to be based on religion: right?

Think about that for a while.

And a bit more.

Think again.

So – legal rights should be outside of your religious views / opinion / beliefs. You know that a lot of straight people in the US are married in an a-religious ceremony, with no involvement or invocation of God, are atheist and get all the rights afforded to those who have a marriage based on Christianity? Equally, you know many people are married in a church NOT fitting the Bible’s definition of marriage? And those who the church won’t marry (say : you’re on your 6th marriage) still do get married and have all the rights of all married people? BECAUSE YOU SHOULDN’T DENY PEOPLE RIGHTS BASED ON THE BIBLE, AND NOT LAW.

Or, as this more accurately comes down to:

You should not SELECTIVELY deny groups of people WHOSE SIN YOU PERSONALLY DON’T LIKE, right, based on YOUR INTERPRETATION of the Bible, and not the laws of your land.

Really.

Think about this one.

And you will realise that Chik-Fil-A are assholes, and probably quite poor Christians. And if you make an effort to support them… well.. you can figure out the rest…

But, do enjoy your burger.

*Yes, several mayors then tried to impinge on the first amendment by ‘banning’ Chik-Fil-A from their cities. If you ever thought this could seriously happen, or be considered legal, then you need help. It also had nothing to do with Mike Huckabee’s original call.