Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Normal

Do you remember watching 9-11 unfold? I remember saying, when the second jet hit the second tower, "This is not an accident. We are under attack!" And then I remember thinking, "Nothing will ever be the same," meaning the way we go about our daily lives as been permanently changed.

The loss of life was and still is tragic. The victims are still dead. The families still mourn their loss. The way we go about our lives has changed. Suspicion and distrust remain. Inconveniences abound (think airports). Nevertheless, we go to work, school, shopping, vacations, church, etc., indicating that we have successfully adjusted to the "new normal" that followed 9-11.

And why wouldn't we?! After all, life has always been about adjusting to new normals. From the time we're born to the time we die, we are adjusting. We are born, we start eating solid food, we are potty-trained, we start school, we stop having recess, we graduate, we get a job, we change jobs, we move, we get married, we have kids, someone burglarizes our house, we buy a new car, we need surgery, we have to pay for our kids to go to college, the economy takes a nose dive, our kids get married, our siblings die, our parents die, we take a cruise, we have to learn new technology… Get the picture? We are in a constant state of adjusting.

So 9-11 brought in a new normal. There have been many others since then (What's your house worth compared to 5 or 10 years ago?). There will be more. We can handle it. After all, we were made in His image!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sometimes Separation of Church and State Is Impossible

The following is a copy of a recent exchange of communication between our congressman and myself. What I wrote was not perfect or even eloquent but I want people to see where Congressman Dicks stands since so many people overlook his ungodliness because he is able to throw a lot of money into our local economy.

Dear Congressman Dicks,

Thank you for your reply. I especially appreciate the clarity of your own position. It can be seen that you approach the issue from the standpoint of your personal interpretation of the law. I realize many carry such a viewpoint but, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I must give precedence to the supreme authority of what God says in the Bible regarding marriage. Every biblical reference to God's plan for marriage reveals it is between a man and a woman. We are in serious error when we reverse the proper course of interpreting man's law in light of God's word and counter it by interpreting God's word according to man's law. I believe our nation's founding fathers understood this and I pray our current leaders will return to it.

In Him,
Jim Gantenbein

On Mar 24, 2011, at 07:34 AM, Congressman Norm Dicks wrote:


Dear Mr. Gantenbein:

Thank you for contacting me to comment on the Obama Administration's conclusion that the law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and its decision to direct Justice Department lawyers to cease defending the law in the courts. I appreciate your interest in this issue.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by Congress in 1996.  It prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and it allows individual states to refuse to recognize such marriages that have been performed in other states.  Section 3 of DOMA requires that marriage, for purposes of federal benefit programs, is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

Since its passage there have been several challenges to the constitutionality of this law, based on two major legal arguments concerning the 10th and 14th Amendments.  The 10th Amendment declares that "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State," and opponents have contended that Congress has no constitutional power to pass a law permitting states to deny full faith and credit to another state's legal determination of a marriage. A second argument, based on the 14th Amendment, contends that the law denies "equal protection under the law" to all Americans.

  On July 8, 2010, a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts found Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in two cases brought by same-sex couples married in Massachusetts.  In one case, the court found that DOMA exceeded Congress's power under the Spending Clause and thus violated the 10th Amendment.  In the other case, the court held that Congress's goal of preserving the status quo did not bear a rational relationship to DOMA and thus, violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  These decisions are similar to other rulings rendered in cases involving state-passed laws restricting same-sex marriage in Colorado, California and other states.

In February, the President and Attorney General Eric Holder issued a determination that the Justice Department would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA. At this time it is unclear whether the Department will continue to defend DOMA's constitutionality against other challenges.  Based on the case law that is accruing and on my own views, I support the President's decision, and agree with the District Court's opinion that Section 3 is unconstitutional.

The House of Representatives may consider legislation this year that would assert the standing of the House to use taxpayer resources to respond to legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, and I expect to oppose such a bill if it is considered on the House floor. 

Thank you again for sharing your views on this timely and important matter. 

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