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Launching my daily podcast today.
Or you can see the original on Spreaker: http://www.spreaker.com/user/housholder
The theme will be spirituality and politics.
I envision an America at her tricentennial fully living into her destiny as a free nation of free people.
There must be a spiritual rebirth and a new understanding of a non-coercive society for this to happen.
I’d be honored to have you along for the journey….
Huntington Beach, California
Find me fastest on TWITTER at @LibertyHous
A Libertarian Looks at President Obama’s Same-Sex Marriage Proclamation
Our president’s views on marriage have “evolved” and now he has come out in favor of “same-sex marriage” (hereafter named “ME” for “marriage equality” in this essay).
This comes on the heels of a crushing defeat to ME advocates at the hands of the citizens of North Carolina who voted 61% to 39%, the previous day, in favor of a state constitutional amendment defining only “traditional marriage” (hereafter named “TM” in this essay) as legal.
The two Billys (Clinton and Graham) weighed in with full-page ads in North Carolina newspapers advocating ME and TM, respectively.
America is not of one mind on this issue.
I am writing this in an airport, about to fly to Mammoth Lakes, California, to perform a marriage. Fitting that I write this now.
Let me lay my cards on the table. Please don’t jump to conclusions based on this short list. My conclusions from this essay are going to surprise you:
- I am a strong advocate for TM (traditional marriage).
- I am also a strong advocate for a free society, where coercion is only used to stop aggression.
- I operate from the assumption that our government’s natural tendency is a “benevolent drift toward a total state.” Our government and leaders generally mean well and end up growing the government and its control over our lives in order to help us. Of course, I believe this generally does more harm than good.
So. On to the discussion…
I am amazed that the advocates for TM and ME are operating under an unhelpful assumption: That the government (federal or state) has the power to license adult relationships.
Marriage licenses are a relatively new thing. For most of our history marriages have been a contract (formal or informal) between individuals and/or families. A religious sanction has been seen as helpful and/or optional in most societies. A “priest” or someone of similar social standing often (but not always) presides.
For much of American history, because we are such an under-populated nation (the topic of another essay), men and women have simply found one another and moved in. They would start referring to each other as husband and wife. Priests/clergy were scarce (perhaps an occasional circuit rider) and the magistrate may well have been the equivalent buggy distance away and expense (in today’s travel time and real cost) of flying to India.
This was also true in Bible times. “He took her as his wife” is a common phrase. The main “social marking” event was a feast/reception and no mention is made of a “judge” or a “priest” showing up. Most Bible people more or less followed the pattern of Adam and Eve and just started the marriage up at their own discretion.
Marriage licenses, unfortunately, came into widespread use after the Civil War, in an effort by racists to control or end “mixed marriages” with newly freed slaves (which in fact had been happening constantly throughout our entire history going back to Jamestown).
When people perceive a “problem,” government is always all too ready to dash in and help “fix” things, and they typically end up with more control over our lives in the end. Just think of the TSA if you want an example.
Thus the widespread custom of marriage licenses was born.
Fast forward to 2012. The culture wars have latched on to the TM vs. ME battle, reinforcing Caesar’s (my favorite term for government power) hold on the role of “decider.”
Both sides, in feverishly trying to get their view adopted by 100% of the public, are playing a gigantic chess game of “Mother May I” with plebiscites and court cases.
Truth is, the opponents are taking their partisan case to a “casino” where the house (government) always wins.
It’s as if two kids get into a playground argument and, unable to settle their dispute, take it up with the school principal. After generations of this appealing to authority, the principal eventually would control all playground activity at the smallest level of detail.
Free and unsupervised playgrounds (think basketball on the public park courts of the South Side of Chicago or sandlot baseball in the Dominican Republic) always produce better performers than over-managed and over-parented suburban youth sports (think Little League dad syndrome). Liberty works.
So back to the TM/ME debate. As a strong supporter of TM (I think of it as the Creator’s “plan A.”), you may be surprised with what I am going to say.
In short, get rid of marriage licenses. Altogether. While you’re at it, get rid of equivalent licenses for barbers, real estate agents and the like. Even business licenses. I pay $100+ a year to the City of Huntington Beach for my little private S-Corporation license and $800 annually to the State of California so they can keep me on some “register.” I get nothing of value in return for either payment. Yet no one questions the right of the government to demand/coerce such money from us. We obediently write our checks.
So, what business does the government have in registering and charging for voluntary adult relationships? What’s next, a friendship tax?
The whole TM/ME argument is base on a false premise; that the “school principal” is the decider. Both sides seek exclusive permission to define marriage aligned to their opinion and then impose that opinion on the other side, with Caesar’s blessing.
Let me suggest a better way.
In a truly free, non-coercive society, people can do as they please as long as they are not aggressing against others or their property. In a state of liberty, all would be free from physical, social, legal, economic, and intellectual aggression.
Picture a society where adult citizens could live with whomever they wanted and enter, freely, into any covenants they choose with others, on whatever terms they should select.
Any attempt to hinder free people from doing so is a restriction of their liberty.
It is also, and this is often left out, a restriction of intellectual liberty to impose a viewpoint on others. Unfortunately, “liberals” often don’t see their shortcomings in this area. In pushing for marriage equality (ME), they see themselves as the defenders of liberty and forget that they are aggressively redefining marriage and hoping to force this new definition on those who hold to TM (traditional marriage) views. It is not enough, for liberals, to have ME become the law of the land, they fully intend for TM supporters to embrace it, or label them as bigots.
In a free society, we would not be free to foist our definition of marriage on those who choose to think otherwise. This goes both ways.
In other words, requiring someone who strongly supports TM to call same-sex marriage a “marriage” is a form of intellectual aggression and has no place among free people. People have a right to their own viewpoints, definitions, and opinions.
Conversely, TM supporters like me have no right to tell ME folks that they cannot consider same-sex marriage a marriage. The truth is, they already do consider it same sex “marriage” a marriage. And I don’t get to vote on what other people think. And ME supporters don’t get to vote on what I think.
Appealing to Caesar is inappropriate among free people who disagree. We need to work it out on the playground for ourselves. No one has to play jump rope. No one has to hang on the monkey bars. No one has to play tetherball.
Respect for the freedom of another person does not require validating his or her opinion, just his or her right to have that opinion, and agreeing not to aggress against it.
Let’s make this more personal. I am a staunch supporter of TM. However, I realize that there are tens of millions of people who have their minds made up that ME is the way to go. If they want to call same-sex marriage a marriage, that is up to them. I, however, do not have to consider it a marriage or call it one. I can find polite ways to avoid that word (marriage) when discussing the issue. Much as atheists in a free society do not have to believe in God, name him, or pray to him, but they are obligated to let others do so.
First of all, however, we have to get the government out of marriage. Adults would be free to enter into any contract with each other. A new private business would spring up: relational contracts. There could be standard and custom-made contracts. It would be similar to the wills and trusts business so common today—no judge or priest is needed to make it so. These contracts could be cheaper than current marriage licenses, and much more customized to suit the needs of the contract parties. It could be notarized, and you could even get a little card for your wallet designating next of kin if you are found (God forbid) in an accident.
This contract can be updated or cancelled at any time. It’s not like our current way of doing things (with a huge divorce rate) is working all that well….
Next of kin can be designated by anyone. Caesar has no right to decide who your next of kin is. Can be a blood relative, can be a spouse, can be a best friend. Sexual intimacy (or lack thereof) should play no role.
All this being said, one’s Facebook status (single, married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, etc) carries more weight these days than paper from the court house.
These adult, free-will covenants could be celebrated by a reception, a party, a religious ceremony, or whatever they like. They would be free to call it whatever they like. A marriage. A partnership. And those of us “looking in” would also be free to call it whatever we like.
Faith communities would be free to craft their own values on the marriage issue. Some would practice only TM. Some would be open to ME. The congregations or denominations could decide for themselves. Coercion would be absent.
My own Lutheran tradition, with its “two kingdoms” has already paved the way for a dual-voluntary system when it comes to marriage. A tolerant public sphere and a voluntary church sphere. We also teach that marriage is not a sacrament (as opposed to Roman Catholic teaching), and does not need clergy present to make it “real.”
The truth is, I insist on being free to hold exclusively to the TM view, and have the right to congregate with others who agree. We have the right, as a congregation, to live accordingly, just as Orthodox Jews are free to restrict themselves to a kosher diet and set their own voluntary community standards.
A same-sex couple would have every right to call their relationship a marriage. But they would not have the right to force others to call it a marriage. They would be free to try to convince and persuade others, but not to coerce them. That would violate the free thought of others.
Free societies are not “winner takes all” societies. They are truly tolerant and non-aggressive, at every level. Valuing liberty does not mean we have to like what others or doing or to approve of any opinions or behaviors.
What about taxes?
Our tax code would have to be changed to “filing individually” and “filing as a legal collective.” Much as the tax code is free of religious labeling, it would have to be neutral on this issue too, so as not to side with a partisan group. And the truth is, coercive income taxes have no place in a free society anyways. But that’s another story.
Caesar has become such a huge part of our lives that we have forgotten the ground rules of liberty.
Let me be clear. I am not advocating ME. I am advocating for my right to hold to TM within a (much) freer society which is neutral on the subject.
Let’s move toward living freely. And thinking freely.
Keynes and Hayek, Round Two < VERY entertaining video.
President Obama's 2013 budget proposal is textbook Keynes. Stimulus. Bailouts. Printing money.
Problem is, all the Republicans agree with him. Except Ron Paul.
Macro-economics is at the heart of everything you're experiencing right now.
Real inflation is over 10% a year (Feds leave out gas and food prices–convenient). Engineered by the Fed to feed the crony Wall Street/DC system.
And one of four people is out of work, if we count the same way we did in the Depression.
Hayek always wins the debate. Keynes always wins the elections.
This year was too full.
Squeezed a whole decade of major ups and downs into one 12-month period.
Very grateful about the good things:
My wife Wendy’s mom, over in the Netherlands, is doing much better for the first time in a long time. For much of the first part of this year she was headed downhill fast. With some diagnosis shifts, she made a major corner turn. She even answered (in Dutch) “PRIMA!” to Wendy’s asking how she was doing.
Son Lars (22) is doing better than ever. Has trimmed down significantly. Works at Albertson’s right up the street, where he has been for a long time. Taking classes at Orange Coast College. Getting very interested in Philosophy. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree…
2011 saw a huge vocational breakthrough with my landing a whole new career, along with Roger Marsh, as co-host of The Bottom Line on KBRT radio 740 AM here in Los Angeles. Monday thru Friday from 3 to 5pm. Listen in on global streaming from anywhere. It’s a Current Events and Christian Lifestyle show.
While doing (extensive) research for the show, I have decided to say goodbye to the two big traditional political parties. I have become a convinced Libertarian. I see a need to help end the welfare/warfare state. Almost everything could be privatized. Another thing that pushed me over the edge was getting audited by the IRS (which I sailed thru but cost me weeks of my time). A Libertarian is just a conservative who has been audited :-). The Founding Fathers never intended for the federal government to control our education, health care, marketplace, agriculture, and energy policy. Nor did they intend for us to rule a global empire with 600-1,100 major military bases abroad.
After a rough 2010/2011 Winter respiratory infection, I took my health in my own hands and lost a lot of weight. Have been hovering around 25 BMI for months now. Am also working on flexibility, range of motion, and breathing, very proactively, with almost-daily gym workouts targeting these problem areas. Pilates is the nastiest workout ever invented. Only Germans could come up with anything so lacking in fun. But it works.
After a lean 2011 financial year through the Fall (after quitting many things to focus on three vocations–see below), our finances have taken a major turn for the better. We made it thru the Great Recession, which has been brutal in California. Praise God.
June saw the most pivotal spiritual time in my life, to date. I was in London at a board meeting for Alpha, staying with good friends Kim and Penelope Swithinbank. Volunteered to help out putting on a huge event for Pentecost at the O2 Center in Greenwich. To make a long story short, I got worked over by a Nigerian prayer team. I am still processing what happened there. Let’s just say I cannot account for 90 minutes of that evening. At all.
A couple of days later, I flew to Israel, landing at Ben Gurion Airport at 3:30am realizing that I had made no plans for my 72-hour stay. So I rented a car and took off…
Ended up at the Western Wall of the Jerusalem temple mount at dawn. Got drawn into a small group of super-serious Orthodox Jews who threw a cap on me, brought me up to the wall, prayed over me and left me to encounter the Sacred on my own.
Had another huge transcendental experience where time disappeared. Received a message to focus on three things: Robinwood, Radio, and Writing. And to let everything else go. Revolutionary for me and hard to process. So, in frustration, I left the city and had my third, and most profound spiritual experience in a week, in Tsfat of Galilee. See my essay on that third experience here.
Published my first novel in June. The Blackberry Bush continues to sell well. It’s a short-list finalist for the Inspy awards for fiction and still in the running for a (long shot) Pulitzer. Do you have your copy yet? Amazon or Barnes and Noble…
Enjoyed our young adults group from church–a real bright spot in ministry. Wendy and I have especially appreciated Lindsey Trego’s “adoptive daughter” status in our family.
Hard things that happened this year, in the midst of which I found things for which to be thankful:
After years of contention, I finally got voted off the island by the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Fought to stay in, but the organization is becoming organizationally legalistic, ueber-PC, and not very tolerant of outspoken theological conservatives like me. SILVER LINING: Thankful that I am now totally free to craft my teaching and build community around it. Didn’t realize how constricting it had been.
Wendy had a hospitalization a few months ago with a super-blocked carotid artery. Quite a scare. We are working on ways to maximize the situation going forward. SILVER LINING: We are so thankful to the chiropractor who discovered the problem.
A freak rainstorm hit while we were replacing the roof at Robinwood Church here in Huntington Beach. We lost almost everything. Set us back for weeks and took our focus off of ministry. SILVER LINING: We are back in business with new carpet. Looks sharp. And we pulled together as a church to clean up and repair.
We had an especially rough personal time this year, when a young pregnant woman asked us to adopt her baby. We being 50 years old, this was a huge deal and we struggled with the decision. She changed her mind right before the birth. We had one day that was the biggest roller coaster of our lives. SILVER LINING: Our marriage came out more loyal and stronger than ever.
Thus we give thanks for some great things, but also “in” all things, whether they are great or not…
These colors don’t torture. Ever.
Waterboarding is sub-human.
Invented in the Spanish Inquisition. Fun times.
The average person lasts 14 seconds before cracking.
Many survivors suffer from lifetime suffocation anxiety.
And what if you get the wrong guy? And he has nothing to share? Most likely permanent mental damage.
We cannot give the green light to Abu Ghraib behavior.
I am so embarrassed for our presidential candidates that they had a debate on this last night.
For the record, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain came out last night in favor of waterboarding. As was Rick Perry.
Huntsman and Paul said no. Paul was vehement.
Where does Romney Stand? Gingrich?
“Enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Good Lord, how Orwellian a phrase can you craft (comment via Brian Zahnd)?
I’m planting a flag on this issue.
Where do you stand?
Can Americans bomb neighborhoods (Germany 300k civilian bombing deaths, Japan 700k, in World War 2)?
Can we send drones into compounds, regretting the “collateral damage” (another Orwellian term)?
Please hear me; I am not a dove. Still regret not doing special forces when I was young. I am against all forms of gun control.
But either we stand for higher ideals, or our fighting is no longer worth bleeding and dying for.
Fun to hear via Twitter yesterday that my Novel, The Blackberry Bush, has made the INSPY awards shortlist for 2011 General Fiction.
Also still in the running for a Pulitzer Prize, although that’s a bit of a long shot :-).
I “wordled” the entire text of the novel and came up with this fascinating mosaic:
It includes a study guide in the back for book clubs, classes, and groups.
I have made two trailer videos, one for the North American/European market…
…and one for the Middle Eastern/South Asian market.
Follow me on Twitter @RobinwoodChurch
My apologies for not posting recently. Still getting 150 page views a day, so thanks so much for continuing to read and comment.
The reason is that I have started a new radio show, called The Bottom Line with co-host Roger Marsh.
It’s a current events drive-home show with a free-market and family-values Christian point of view.
It’s on KBRT AM 740 from 3pm to 5pm Pacific Time.
KBRT reaches all of coastal Southern California and has a very strong signal.
Its is NOT podcast; the shows are not recorded. But you can use the TuneIn app to record the show for later listening. Currently (October 2011) it is still listed under the previous show’s name “Talk from the Heart.” That will be updated soon.
Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KBRT740
You can listen in on your smartphone thru FlyCast at http://www.flycast.fm/FlyCastHOME.aspx.
Advertisers for the show have experienced dramatic increases in sales/customers. Contact Pam Christian at PLChristian@CrawfordBroadcasting.com or call her at 714-754-4450.
Thanks for listening in!
Did you hear the news?
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a paper that gives all of California’s “bazillion” electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
This is not a misprint. To the winner of the NATIONAL popular vote. Here is the LINK.
In other words, the votes of someone in Indiana will have as much effect on California’s electoral votes as mine, a taxpaying resident of the state of California.
Why did he do this?
Liberals are afraid of a repeat of the Bush/Gore election where Al won the popular vote (by a hair) and George won the electoral vote (by a dimpled chad in Florida.)
Abolish the electoral college! (shouts everyone)
How silly! (shout I)
The older I get, the more I appreciate the wisdom of the founding fathers.
On their better days, I believe they were truly inspired by God. And, like Martin Luther King, I don’t believe you can separate faith convictions from politics.
They founded the Electoral College for a reason.
A very good reason.
The envisioned each state sending its best and brightest (college presidents, business leaders, agriculturalists, journalists, clergy, intellectuals, historians, etc.) to a real meeting in Washington DC every four years. Kind of like the group that wrote the constitution in the first place….
They would choose one person to manage the country for four years. Keep it in the black. Keep it efficient.
Politicking was seen as bad form. The decision was NOT to be made ahead of time. The idea of a sitting president raising a billion (!) dollars for re-election would have resulted in deportation.
There was to be no popular vote for the president. The leaders of the country were to confer and choose one.
Because the founding fathers were afraid of two things:
1) America becoming a high-overhead imperial power (like England).
2) A spike in popular opinion putting a charismatic nut in the office of the presidency through a direct popular vote.
Thus the constitution was built with lotsa shock absorbers to cushion against instability, extremism, and hysteria.
Only the House of Representatives would fully mirror the current mood of the people. Every two years everyone is back up for election. New “movements” would get representation here (tea party, contract with America, new deal, reaganomics, great society, etc.) and a chance to gain a foothold. New ideas would be given a test drive.
The Senate was staggered so that only a third of the seats would come open at any given time. The terms were longer than the president’s; denoting higher status. They were to be chosen by state legislatures, to provide yet one more filter against extreme mood swings. The Senate was thus to be more conservative and less prone to sharp turns. They would be the ones approving foreign treaties (or basically just staying out of them).
The presidency was not an elected King/Queen. The president was to be an efficient, proven leader who could keep things on track. Not a charismatic survivor of a brutal campaign trail. Not the winner of endless debates.
George Washington was thus elected president (by a real electoral college) more or less against his will. He begged the country not to put is picture on the money and thus elevate the presidency. He insisted on “Mr. President” rather than “Your highness” or even “Your honor.” The president was to be like a city manager of a large country. Not in the news all the time.
Time to bring this great idea back. No more imperial presidency. No more sending our troops abroad without a declaration of war. No more elected emperors.
Have each state send its brightest and best; non-partisan if possible, and choose a good manager for the next four years. Peter Ueberroth would have been chosen in the 80′s after organizing the L.A. Olympics and making a profit.
Leave the electioneering to the House of Representatives, where it belongs. A popular house. Where fresh ideas are given a chance.
But the real power should be in the Senate. Longer terms than the president (six years). A compounding society of wisdom. Not susceptible to the whims of the season.
The electoral college.
A great idea.
About time we get it right.
And put the presidency in its place.
Please pass the link for this on to everyone else. Thanks!
Here I stand, bare feet on ancient stone. Looking down at the water…
How did I get here?
It’s 3am in Tsfat, Israel. Dark outside. Full moon over the 4,000 year-old graveyard behind me…
I was on the way home to California from a business trip in London.
As if by an unseen hand, I was led out of my well-worn hotel room and down the switchbacks to this holiest of places in this holiest of cities. Yitzak Luria‘s Mikveh.
I feel like Indiana Jones, except there is no khaki or wide-brimmed hat…I am as naked as the day I was born, no barrier, coram Deo. Even my watch and wedding ring have been taken off.
Just me. Just God. Just now.
My name, David, which never made much sense to me, seems oddly right for, perhaps, the first time ever. I have cultivated nicknames all my life. I think of the double delta of David’s monogram…
I think back over the last 48 hours here in Galilee.
Invited into the back rooms of synagogues…
Rabbis pointing through the texts of “secret books” in Hebrew and asking questions….
- How did you learn Hebrew?
- Your name is David, are you sure you aren’t Jewish? You look Russian…
- Where do you sense the presence of God here in Tsfat? Where is that feeling the strongest?
- What are you doing here?
I did not choose to stand here. I’m not even sure what a mikveh is…I was led here…
I need answers to three questions. Just two days ago, I wrote those questions on a tiny slip of paper, rolled it up, and placed it in the Western Wall of the temple mount in Jerusalem at sunrise. My forehead against the cool ancient stone, my palms up high, time collapsed…the better part of an hour evaporated like the morning fog…
It is dark outside. Not even the roosters have begun to crow…
I slide into the biting cold of the fresh spring water, holding the pole and stepping down the ancient steps. I breathe deeply and submerge….
The world disappears.
I pull my knees up against my chest, going fetal in this womb-tomb.
An avid surfer, I am used to being underwater and I gently roll backwards….
A glow emanates from nowhere and everywhere. I open my eyes underwater to confirm the experience and the light vanishes…
I come up for air twice and submerge again. The glow returns, and I feel enveloped in the Khesed-love of the Creator. Answers come to me faster than I can receive them.
I generate a will to receive.
Something shifts around me. The third time under turns into a dream. I feel as if I am breathing underwater. The glow gets warm.
All of my theological legalisms about baptism vanish and dissolve into an ocean of God’s presence.
As I climb out and dry off, my soul comes to total rest. I will walk for hours until the hilltop town awakens. Like an old snakeskin, I have shed something. A new season is starting…
Where is your “mikveh” where you take off everything in the presence of God?
When’s the last time you were there….?