Friday, December 31, 2004

Be It Resolved

Be patient.
The sun sets this year.
The sun rises the next.
The sun is still there.

Grieve. Breathe. Heal. Imagine.

The future lies ahead as a present for the past life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

In the meantime, I will try to welcome pain when it comes. Not with glee, no, but with as much willingness as I can muster. Some places are easier to walk through if one doesn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming, and beauty is easier to see in dark places if one’s eyes aren’t clenched shut.

[via Quotidian Light]

In the face of such unthinkable tragedy, we fall silent. But silence will not help. Those of us who choose to believe in a diety are stunned and troubled. Those who believe that life has meaning are stunned and troubled. Stunned and troubled is what we feel, but the essential question is, "What will we do?"

[via Real Live Preacher]

we are so blessed, so confusingly blessed. why us? why them? it reduces me to a pool of tears. so helpless to help.

from this post via emerging sideways

Suggestion for the next disaster:

Blogs have brought this disaster on the other side of the world into our homes and offices in an entirely new and different way.

The next big step for bloggers in emergency response situations is to build networks of blogs that can pinpoint specific requirements (food, water, clothing, transportation, medical help, emergency survivor contact, immunizations, etc.), and to be specific - "We need 14 doses of diptheria innoculation, 24 pairs of men's shorts (12 size 28, 10 size 30, 2 size 32), and ten cases of disposable diapers, size 12-24 pounds, in xyz village in Sri Lanka as soon as possible". Blogging, linked to people with cell phones, can provide exactly that kind of specific response, down to the individual level - on both ends. Donor and recipient can be matched, the material gathered at specified node points for shipment, and distributed through specified node points where it's needed. Transportation can be included in the equation by having airlines that are heading in that direction anyway accepting shipments for specific node points on a space-available basis. If there's not enough space available on airlines, contract shipments or military assistance can pick up the slack.
[via Old Patriot's Pen]

Monday, December 27, 2004

Isn't it odd how Christmases change? When you're young, these holidays have an entirely different meaning. It's all about behaving yourself until the big payoff on Christmas morning. For most kids, it's about a relationship with that bearded do-gooder, Santa Claus. I never believed in him -- my parents chose instead of educate me on the "spirit" of Christmas, rather than its patron saint.

And I have mixed feelings about that. Yes, they wanted me to remember the more religious meanings behind the holidays -- and to save me the devastation of realizing the Claus didn't exist. But part of me still wishes I could have participated in that magic.

When you get past the whole Santa-Claus stage, you move onward to the what-cool-present-can-I -get-this-year stage. Then it's all about possessing whatever the marketplace deems as the "IN" present of the year.

[via grrrlmeetsworld]

Unloading After Christmas

Face it: Today is a crappy day, isn't it. The malls, museums and movie theatres are crawling with angry, disappointed people and their angry, disappointed kids. Everywhere you look, there is no escape! Besides, aren't you still (just a little bit) angry because the Grinch spoiled your Christmas? ... because Santa left you a lump of coal in your stocking? ... that your holiday dinner drama turned your stomach? Bah, HUMBUG?! Well, I have a great solution for you...

[via Living the Scientific life]

[from the poem Cruelty]

you say,
"i love you
but your wound stinks.
let me pry the scab open
for you;
let me heal it."

i wince and say,
"no please.
it is healing fine."

[via life happens]

Sunday, December 26, 2004

[a poem I wrote today]


in judgement we gather
face to face from many paths
to meet our shared part in reaching
a verdict beyond this body

to make room for agreement
between our petty differences
over ritual slaughter of fact

our host reckons we stop
to ponder how the blame and bargains
test our firm resolve to reconcile
outstanding issues that persist

in communion we submit
factions of our very best
made with such conviction at the table
right before us

some are loyal to the law
some just want to nullify
one does not belong

on balance, unjustified

so then we offer up
another round of arguements
prolonged by much objections
at the detail

it can leave us hanging by a thread
at the end of our rope

Thursday, December 23, 2004

So what I'm trying to get across to you is, you are putting out a message of hope, and I respect that. And you are putting out a message, think postive, and I respect that. But those messages, hope and positive thinking, don't win wars. They don't.

[via Man Descending]

May wonder and awe dwell with and around you.

Give life, fulfill wishes, and experience wonder...if nothing else, make sure others don't lose anything important.

No, Not Chrismukkah...but...

Today is Festivus, "for the rest of us". Thanks Becky for the reminder!

Christmas is nearly upon us, and the world is still a dark place.

[via Beggars All]

This Past Season:

Dec. 6: Went to Experience Christmas! at Elim Tabernacle. Was good and lively, as usual. Unexpectedly saw some friends I would never expect at this thing. Not only that, I went (with friends) to someone's place whom I am somewhat estranged (partially intentionally). Great stuff!

Dec. 12: Went to Forest Grove Community Church for Celebrate This!. Was more subdued, but relaxing. Must remember to be "inflated" more throughout the year. You can't threaten a balloon to be full.

Dec. 19: (a) went to Riverway Church's Make a Wish Come True: An Electric Christmas. If you want something unconventional, this would be it. Refreshing and engaging. Focused on hope and wishes.

(b) went to my old church the Saskatoon Church of God for Fear Not. Almost wasn't sure I'd go, but decided to venture out. Got out of my comfort zone. Some technical difficulties, but enjoyed the video cued with live action.

My gift to you is a promise of love,
The gift of a failing heart.

All I have to give those that love me
Is my own imperfect love,...

That the pain will not last,
That our thirst will soon drown in the song not sung in vain.

[via Canticles of the Unhomed]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I wish I could say that it's because I'm such a generous and thoughtful person, and that's why it matters so much to me to give a nice gift. But I think there's something less pretty behind it, like needing approval and a deep rooted insecurity. Maybe it's a need to be thought very well of, to have people say "Oh isn't she such a generous and thoughtful person! Egad.

[via Feeble Knees]

By CommonMan in The Door Magazine's Chat Closet

The Sentry

In a scaffolding
Overlooking a field
In the heart of winter
Everything is asleep

The field is dead and brown
The trees are skeletons
Standing against the grey skies and exposed
The plants and trees are asleep

A creek runs through the glade
Full from the rains
Telling anyone its story
If only there was one to listen

Cars and trucks rush by
Filled with anticipation
Of reaching their destination
But they are all asleep

The sentry looks around
And asks, "Who, who will listen?"
Who will listen to the wind,
Who will hear the creek’s story?

Not one stops, no one hears
They rush by on their way
Where are they going?
There is no threat here, yet I fear

They don’t understand
They don’t listen
They don’t love
They're all dead.

'But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted "Merry Christmas", even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.'
---Alfred Anderson, in Last survivor of 'Christmas truce' tells of his sorrow by Lorna Martin, The Observer

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sunday, December 19, 2004

By Ralph from The Door Magazine Chat Closet-- words in parentheses are supposed to be indented

December Musings

Green and red lights fade
into a panoply of red, white and blue.
The Wal-Mart lot is jammed

with cars streaming through the artificial
roads in this Discount City where savings
are awarded on the platform backs
of the downtrodden workers, who make a fuck-you
grimace as they bear the cross of nail
polish, two for two, cheap cologne on sale -
(limited supply per store.)

Santa sits despondent
in an eggnog-and-gin coma, wondering
why he has sunk to the depths
of having redneck kids piss on him.
I question my own motives
(a man's heart is evil from his youth)

for coming to this place. Maybe
because I want to mock the lives
lived inside a big box, the surreal
land of scanner beeps and company TV
(like Pravda, only cheerier.)

Or perhaps I want to cry
out with joy and exultation at the prices
of incense and of myrrh
(cash, check, or credit?)

- after Campbell McGrath

Friday, December 17, 2004

Peace on earth and good-will toward other human beings are the best ornaments of the season, and the ones for which I'll willingly reach out my hand in fragile hope and wonder this Christmas: in hope of grasping them more firmly and surely this year, and in wonder that they're possible at all despite the chaos we make of the season.

All the other ornaments can go back in the box.

[via Quotidian Light]

A diamond is forever. That seems to be the consensous. Only, what kind of forever?

[via The Bean Blog]

[via pure sweet hell]

There is a wonderful paradox that exists within me.

I have a high stone wall erected around parts of me with no glimpse of a "gate"....

Yet a large part of me is very open. What am I "open" to?

{full post}

A wall is merely a bridge upright.

A bridge is merely a fallen wall.


Someone who makes things trivial by being overly serious

Agreeing to Disagree:

"You're wrong...but I'll let you be wrong."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

i guess in many ways we never change and always need the same things--a quiet companion, a loving touch and the space & peace to know someone is completely dedicated to our well-being. that we are not completely alone.

[via Soul Sisters Unite]

Being stupid and being dangerous is a volatile combination.

Approaching Social Change and Tradition (cont.)

Read Part 1 here.

Part 1 demonstrates how focusing on social change at the expense of tradition can oversimplify the case for it, which does a disservice to both. However, this may not be only the fault of progressive activism, but also with traditional commentaries against change:
"... when tradition collides with social change, some traditions are rejected while others are retained. The process of determining which traditions are kept and which are abandoned is governed primarily not by reason but by complex cultural dynamics; the resulting social customs are often both unquestioned and unreasonable."
(Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Women Caught in the Conflict: The Culture War between Traditionalism and Feminism, p.11)

Could traditional analysis be possibly worse? Let's explore this in more depth:

[Note: Unless otherwise, all quotes in Part 2 are from Are There Homosexual Saints? by Joe Bob Briggs in issue 190 of The Door Magazine]

Part 2: The Con Position

Joe Bob Briggs' Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to address the conflict within the Anglican Communion about homosexuality, particularly regarding the active gay bishop in the United States. It confronts the dynamics and issues stemming from this situation, ultimately offering a moderately traditional stance. The article first examines why American Anglicans "make up the rules as they go along" about homosexuality, compared with the rest of the Anglican dioceses. Why are there differences? After all, even in places where homosexuality is "more common and open than it is here", it is considered by Anglicans as legal outside the church but unacceptable within it. Briggs suggests that the accountability implied by the traditional notion of sin is resisted by Americans, with the most relaxed groups proposing that some sexual behavior be overlooked instead.

With Us or Against Us

So when and where should there be accountability? The article clearly states that it should NOT be enforced from outside the church, since it does not have the authority. Because it is not the religious arm of the state or just a registered charity, church standards have sole jurisdiction there. Moreover, Briggs says, the struggle is "not about power or social justice", but "about Biblical authority or divine revelation," so only Anglicans (in this case) are applicable anyways. The broader society need not intervene.

Although this clarifies where scrutiny must lie, it has two uneasy implications. First, if tradition or the church needs social reform, it must come from inside. Yet it is not clear what recourse is available when tradition may be deemed unnecessarily certain and infallible. Second, since the main issue concerns Biblical interpretation, worries about injustice may be dismissed prematurely. When would social change matter?

Regardless, a practicing homosexual Anglican, under current policy, would be required to stop (i.e. repent) or leave, since continuing homosexual activity would be paramount to insubordination. The church could not simply ignore such behavior, like it or not. To demonstrate how this can be handled, the article offers two examples. In one, the preacher in question was expelled from the Southern Baptists without a "mechanism for mercy". The other case concerned an Anglican bishop in England who "resigned in order to protect the communion", also indicating that he and his former partner had remained celibate since 1991 to live within church guidelines.

Yet this does not explain why certain individuals act out inappropriately here. (The article does not suggest any theories.) Do the responses deal with the motivations behind homosexuality or are they just shortsighted and inflexible? Moreover, perhaps some people stay or persist because they believe it is more complicated than is evident to others. The only options presented are certainly unsatisfactory to some and does not determine whether the church could be lacking in this area.

Erring on the Side of Tradition?

Despite this, Briggs emphasizes that the church must attend to each of its members by its own terms. It does not conform itself to current values to be relevant, but with past faithfulness to tradition for the sake of integrity. This is the crux of the matter, as even the Protestant Reformation aimed for a more authentic connection to history, not social change or innovation. There seems to be no viable alternative when shortcomings are possibly evident. Also, this does not prove if tradition is accurate in its assessments of wrongdoing, since it could be only partly correct or fully incorrect.

However, to evaluate the nature of sin and homosexuality, Briggs refers to Romans 1: 24-27, which is traditionally used in this case. It states that God allowed humanity to participate in futile and unproductive behavior (i.e. sin), in order to reap the consequences of their misguided focus on nature. In order to describe how erroneous and artificial this had become, the author uses acts towards the same sex to illustrate the irony, where humans try to go towards themselves (i.e."against nature") instead of moving towards and acknowledging God. "As such, it's the ultimate self-love."

Briggs notes that this is not strictly referring to homosexual acts. "The sin isn't homosexuality. The sin is regarding God as nothing." Therefore, the article suggests, if gays are cast out, then so should other sinners as well. Yet while other actions can be forgiven by not allowing them to become habits, the pivotal question is whether homosexuality is more than simply a distorted practice. Previous thought assumed it only referred to confused or reckless heterosexuals, but today it is viewed and treated differently.

Should the church respond accordingly? This depends on how much the traditional answer here could be modified in the face of new considerations. If the issues involved are seen as more complex and ambiguous than originally construed, then perhaps a reappraisal should occur. However, if tradition must prevail in spite of everything, then some discrepencies will emerge.

Take the Biblical passage mentioned earlier regarding homosexual and sinful behavior to start. Although the fact that the two activities are related to each other may lead some to conclude that all homosexuality is automatically sinful, this obscures two things. First, the fact that heterosexual acts are not mentioned in these particular verses does not necessarily mean that they are never used sinfully. Pursuing the other sex does not guarantee that it will be more effective. Second, although homosexual acts are considered a result of sin, it does not indicate if there are instances where it is not. Perhaps it is a conflicted expression at best, so conflating everything together gives a false picture. However, Briggs does not explore these options.

Convenience Over Change

In contrast, the article affirms the traditional perspective, which can be simpler and easier than the alternative. Briggs summarizes the conflict this way regarding the active gay bishop in America:
This may be a good or a bad thing as far as society is concerned, but the church is not society. The church has believed for 2000 years, with Paul, that homosexuality is something invented by God to reveal man's selfishness. Ordaining a bishop who says, "I intend to practice it continually," becomes, for the faithful, a rejection of God and an elevation of a "me first" gospel....Aside from what the church regards as a sin in itself, the whole typology of the office is perverted.
This reveals the main points of contention about this issue within the Anglican Communion. First, the option of homosexuality as a lifestyle comes from a foreign source, which can not override Biblical or church authority. Second, church precedent does not permit such behavior, as the Bible portrays homosexuality as an illustration of self-absorption. Third, the church position would be devalued as a consequence of such rebellion. Therefore, there seems no need to change the traditional view.

The article Are There Homosexual Saints? attempts to explain the tension about the practicing gay bishop in the States, offering a rationale for the traditional objections against any change. Yet it does not explain why this seems merely convenient instead of truly adequate. Moreover, it conveys social change as insufficient while ignoring the tendency of some to hide behind the church when it expresses potential prejudice. It also does not give any conditions under which change may be required when needed. At best, this article appears overconfident in its conclusions.

Caught in a Stalemate

These articles illustrate how difficult it can be to justify social change or tradition. The typical response tends to focus on one side while generally downplaying or dismissing the other, with a fairly insufficient result. It is easy to be complacent when we agree. Why does this happen so often? In essence, the appeals provided either way are ultimately fraught with compromises, since the circumstances are technically caught in a stalemate. This does not indicate that there are no real solutions to these problems, but that people want more fulfilling resolutions than there may really be. Let us proceed carefully.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Thursday, December 09, 2004

[quoted via ~scottyd~ in this post]

"Rigidity arises from the attempt to achieve stability (security) through paralysis - if nothing changes, then everything will be all right. (Such rigidity is part of the popular caricature of the conservative, but how often do people of any stripe admit fundamental errors in their view of things?)

If you get out of step in a subculture you are often subtly made to feel if not crazy, then guilty, or stupid, or anything else that will pressure you back into the pack. And these feelings heighten if you assume that everyone else believes what they do for unimpeachable reasons, while your difficulties merely evidence your own weakness, recalcitrance, or bad manners.

Sometimes that may be the case, but often reflective people are out of step because they sense that something is not right. They may be confused themselves. but they should be listened to.
--from The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment by Daniel Taylor

Love can be more demanding. After all one can be compassionate towards someone, understand their feelings, "feel with" him, but just not care for him much. Applying the term LOVE may imply requiring yourself not only to understand him, but to actively, well, love him. Just make sure it's really HIM that you are loving, not an idealized abstraction.

If you interpret "compassion" in a manner like mercy, you might import a hierarchical view of feeling compassionate to those beneath you.
[via A Progressive Christian]

Reference re Same-Sex Marriage


IN THE MATTER OF Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26;

AND IN THE MATTER OF a Reference by the Governor in Council concerning the Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, as set out in Order in Council P.C. 2003-1055, dated July 16, 2003

Indexed as: Reference re Same-Sex Marriage

Neutral citation: 2004 SCC 79.

File No.: 29866.
2004: October 6, 7; 2004: December 9.

Present: McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella and Charron JJ.


Constitutional law -- Distribution of legislative powers -- Marriage -- Solemnization of marriage -- Federal proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes -- Proposed legislation providing that marriage for civil purposes lawful union of two persons to exclusion of all others -- Legislation providing also that nothing in Act affecting freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages not in accordance with their religious beliefs -- Whether proposed legislation intra vires Parliament -- Constitution Act, 1867, ss. 91(26), 92(12).

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Equality rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether proposed legislation consistent with guarantees of equality rights and freedom of religion -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 2(a), 15(1).

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Freedom of religion -- Proposed federal legislation extending right to civil marriage to same-sex couples -- Whether guarantee of freedom of religion protects religious officials from being compelled by state to perform same-sex marriage contrary to their religious beliefs -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 2(a).

Courts -- Supreme Court of Canada -- Reference jurisdiction -- Discretion not to answer reference questions -- Whether Court should decline to answer reference questions -- Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26, s. 53.

Pursuant to s. 53 of the Supreme Court Act, the Governor in Council referred the following questions to this Court:

1.Is the annexed Proposal for an Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?

2.If the answer to question 1 is yes, is section 1 of the proposal, which extends capacity to marry to persons of the same sex, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars, and to what extent?

3. Does the freedom of religion guaranteed by paragraph 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect religious officials from being compelled to perform a marriage between two persons of the same sex that is contrary to their religious beliefs?

4.Is the opposite-sex requirement for marriage for civil purposes, as established by the common law and set out for Quebec in section 5 of the Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? If not, in what particular or particulars and to what extent?

The operative sections of the proposed legislation read as follows:

1. Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.

2. Nothing in this Act affects the freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Held : Question 1 is answered in the affirmative with respect to s. 1 of the proposed legislation and in the negative with respect to s. 2. Questions 2 and 3 are both answered in the affirmative. The Court declined to answer Question 4.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sometimes groups reorganize foolishly, making both more weaker and inflexible.

The best reasons for groups to reorganize (including separating) are:

Strength (of the whole group)


Flexibility (of the whole group)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Too often, I think, humans are polar creatures. I don't mean we walk around on all fours in really cold climates. I mean we tend to think about the world just as though it's black and white, or some shade of gray. We like to think of things as being either this, or that, or somewhere on the road between those two points.

That would be fine in a one dimensional universe. However, sometimes it pays to realize that we don't live in a one dimensional universe. I think that's hard, but we should endeavor to do that--to imagine a multidimensional world.

[via a badchristian blog] is always tempting to just talk and simply overrun people with clever arguments and things which maybe aren’t quite true, or not quite remembered well. It is much harder to say ‘I don’t know’, or ‘I need to look into that’. It is much harder to take the time to do the research. It is much harder to argue in such a way as to uplift those who disagree with me, in a way that informs and gives them the benefit of the doubt, in a way that doesn’t use cheap tricks like straw-man arguments and the like. It is easier to just talk, but it is much more loving to care enough to argue well.
[via Just Two Guys]

The Message of Job:

Sometimes losing everything is how others find their way through.

When you view others as more than they are, they see you as less than you could be.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

"I'm thankful life isn't fair. Because if life was fair, there'd be justice, and that would mean I'd be dead. I know myself too well. I'm thankful I don't have what I wanted. I'm not handsome, and don't have a lot of money. It reduces my options. I'd probably fail every test that confronted me. Every breath is a gift from God. If you have food or clothes, you have what you need."

- Ole Anthony, publisher of The Door Magazine

[a poem I wrote today]


cutting lines over and over
thinly etched, deeply sliced
almost anorexic without fault

just marking rows from strife
made in order, to divide
like fences between neighbours

(for proper separation)

or wrinkles in perfection
measured and ruled across time
until the skin is breached

cracked instead of healed
so it appears at first
drawing life to the surface

frozen after into clots
with only arctic winds of change
and discontented winter.

Approaching Social Change and Tradition

Read Part 2 here.

[note: unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in Part 1 are from Warren Postlewaite's article Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash in Planet S]

Social change can be more stressful when engaged with tradition. It also pressures us to adjust. Yet, while social change and tradition are complex and ambivalent (at best), how it's approached is not. The usual tendency is to make things simpler and easier than they really are. This results in otherwise decent perspectives becoming mediocore and unhelpful.

To get a sense of this, let's consider two articles discussing issues of homosexuality. Both of them deal with social change and tradition from different perspectives.

Part One: The Pro Position

The first article we'll be examining is Warren Postlewaite's Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash. This article focuses on the struggle for gay rights against meddling from government and religion. It starts off by describing how homosexuality became more accepted and legalized by the Canadian government, with the newest wrinkle being gay marriage. Postlewaite states that "the case for gay marriage is simple: Equal treatment under the law." * So in time the courts will oblige and make marriage available to gays and lesbians. Yet, the article reminds us, all this social change doesn't come easy, and the fight still continues. "The case against [gay marriage] is led by the Church, or to be more fair and accurate perhaps, unrefined religious doctrine. What is a judiciary to do?" *

Too Negative? Too Easy?

With that introduction, the article then turns to the opposition to gay marriage, starting with how the "anti-gay avant-garde" argues against gay relations. Proof-texts from the Bible are crudely used as their "manifesto" to resist homosexuality and same-sex marriage. For example, take Leviticus 18:22, which condemns same-sex relations as an abomination. This type of negative press can fuel "some of the most hateful anti-gay speech and propaganda", which avoids the broader, gentler context of the issue.

To augment his concern, Postlewaite tries to demonstrate the absurdity of this particularly negative reference by comparing same-sex relations with discouraged cultural practices (like tattoos or eating pork). Since the latter are not prohibited now, why should the former be? Otherwise, shouldn't tattoos or eating pork be outlawed too? Yet by comparing two different categories, he undermines his point unnecessarily. (Try the previous argument using incest instead of same-sex relations, and see how it comes across.)

Although it is easy to see how being narrow and negative is counterproductive here, it is unclear how to manage negative or hostile elements of tradition effectively concerning this issue, since homosexuality was not understood the way it is now. The article does not indicate anything specifically. Moreover, there is no indication why a more positive response is required, other than it had not been that way beforehand and seems inadequate because of the struggle for gay rights. Either way, it definitely seems not as easy as it looks.

Change Good, Tradition Bad

After deeming "unrefined religion" * lacking, the article focuses on the relations between "traditional Christian precepts" and the "conservative legal culture". Postlewaite determines that the church hinders and discourages the state from initiating social change, because they are too similar. Therefore, the courts do not reappraise their "assumptions, prejudices, or practices". Over time though, change is inevitable and so tradition must lose out to reform.

How does that apply here? The article explains:
"Like the anti-divorce and anti-abortion lobbies before it, the current backlash against same-sex marriage has come about precisely because of the vast sea in change in public values, reflected in the latest [Canadian] Appellate courts' decisions. Thirty years ago, the Vatican wouldn't have bothered going on television to say that homosexuality was sinful. After all, who would have argued with that? All these rearguard actions reflect the increasing desperation of religious and social traditionalists in a modern, secular world spinning increasingly out of their control." *
So, just as tradition is depicted as universally bad because of a restrictive understanding of homosexuality, social change is deemed universally good because it reflects a relaxed attitude toward the issue. What the article doesn't make clear is how to integrate both groups with the complex and ambivalent reality of these circumstances. Traditionalists may see more mixed consequences with social change, especially looser configurations in relationships, yet the traditional solution could be insufficient anyways. However, while social change may be warranted, it may be more difficult than the courts (in this example) could resolve.

Optimistic and Simple

While Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains an optimistic expression of hope for gay rights, the way it construes and handles tradition sabotages this message to some degree. This is partly indicated by the flawed rebuttal of a negative Biblical reference, and using unflattering language only about tradition throughout the article. Moreover, the presumption that social change is the only response to the issue of gay rights and gay marriage is just as easy and simple as the tradition portrayed here. All in all, Beyond The Same-Sex Backlash contains enough significant problems to make it unsatisfying and unimpressive.

*emphasis mine

[End of Part One..."Turn Tape Over"...errr...stay tuned for Part Two]