Whatever Could Gays Be Thinking? The California Supreme Court's Favorable Ruling Is Bad News For America

by Don on May 20th, 2008
in Politics

I support the rights of consenting adults to marry other consenting adults. No differences of tribe, ethnicity, religion, adult age, sexual orientation or gender should be a barrier. Like Alan M. Dershowitz, however, I believe civil unions are the best bet for gays until Americans become smarter and nicer, and realize that it is foolish and unethical to discriminate against gays. However, that realization may take a while to come about.

California already has a progressive law that provides for domestic partnerships, which grants all rights of marriage except the name. Marriage IS basically a religious institution as well as a civil one, so any religion, cult or spiritual organization should have the freedom to make its own rules about the matter. If a religion or cult wants to discriminate against gays, that's despicable, but many things religions promote (e.g., gender discrimination, child indoctrination) as part of their creeds are despicable. We willingly put up with religious quirks as part of our enthusiasm for maximum freedoms. Of course, if a given church is willing to perform a marriage, then by all means such a ritual should be legal and recognized everywhere in America.

So, why then do I believe the California Supreme Court's ruling that allowed gay marriage is bad for the country? For the simple reason that it will, at this time in our political life, give Republican wing-nuts an issue they will use to rattle the rabble in support of McCain and other Republican candidates in November. In short, the timing of the ruling is awful.

Think of the problems this country faces. Inflation (gas over $4 a gallon with surcharges on nearly everything to pay for the extra costs), a never-ending war in Iraq, a health care system in disarray, foreclosures at record highs. And what will the Republicans go on about? The "sanctity of marriage." And a lot of people will fall for it and vote Republican. (If you doubt it, note the first page story in the Wall Street Journal the day after the ruling - California Ruling Reignites Same-Sex Marriage Debate, May 16, 2008, p.1.)

I agree with Susan Jacoby, who in an essay entitled, "Gay Marriage: Some Day (But Not Now) We'll Say, Oh, Never Mind:" "I'm in favor of gay marriage. If gay men and women want access to the same privileges and miseries that matrimony confers on straight men and women, why not? But same-sex marriage is emphatically not the most important issue in America today--for gays or straights."

Just so. That's why I think the decision was not good for the larger interests of those who want a progressive society that values personal freedoms. Oh well. Hope for the best and be well.

Ardell Denounces Reverends Wright, Hagee, Robertson AND President Bush, The Pope, Satan AND (Posthumously) Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot Or Pot Pol AND Mother Theresa, For Good Measure

by Don on May 20th, 2008
in Politics

The leading contenders for president have set a noble example that I find inspirational, namely, denouncing those with whom they no longer wish to be associated. Never mind if they spent years sucking up to these infamous characters for votes, at the cost of their dignity, integrity and ethical standards -- like a Catholic's confession, it appears a good denunciation washes away all sins. So, I am following their lead. I would not want anyone to think I would accept a subscription to the ARDELL WELLNESS REPORT from any of the nefarious characters noted above, no matter how unlikely said subscriptions might be. I am taking no chances - I denounce them all. If I receive a check from one of these Evil-Doers, I will not cash it, but if I do, I hope my bank will not cash it but if it does, well, I'll spend the money on something positive, like a hybrid sportscar.

I am indebted to candidates McCain and Obama for showing me the highroad in the form of the artful denunciation.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you should straighten up and fly right via a wellness lifestyle of the highest kind and do not screw up by talking crazy, like the Reverends Wright and Hagee. If you do, I'm afraid I shall have to denounce you.

Don't make me do that. Be well and look on the bright side of life.

Excellent Questions About Religion - And Great Responses From A Religious Skeptic

by Don on May 14th, 2008
in Religion

One of my favorite bloggers, and I have many favorities, is Patrick Condell. He describes himself as "a biped carbon-based life form ..." who "enjoys walking upright and being warm-blooded" who lives "on planet Earth, a piece of rock orbiting a giant fireball in the middle of nowhere." I think he sounds a bit like me. Patrick offers video rants at his website, and they are quite amazing, as is his website, which I highly recommend

The site has many features besides the videos, which have been recommended by no less a luminary than Richard Dawkins. To spark your interest in his work and to demonstrate how to give brief, incisive answers to basic religious questions, I offer these excerpts from Patrick's website:

Q: Why do you hate faith?
A: Why do you hate reality?

Q: What do you think of Buddhists/Hindus/Sikhs/Jedi etc.?
A: I have no problem with any of them, as last time I checked they weren't trying to take over the world.

Q: You don't know what it means to have faith.
A: I don't know what it means to you, and I don't want to know. That's kind of the point.

Q: You don't understand Christianity/Islam.
A: I don't understand smallpox or typhoid either, and I'm equally disinclined to get acquainted with them.

Q: Why shouldn't I be allowed to raise my kids religious if I want to?
A: The same reason you shouldn't be allowed to beat them with a knotted rope.

Q: By antagonising religious people, aren't you making it less likely they'll agree with you?
A: I don't want them to agree with me. I want them to shut up and maybe see a doctor.

Q: How do you respond to atheists who say you're too crude and simplistic?
A: They're probably right, as usual.

Q: Prove God doesn't exist.
A: That's a tough one. Show me how it's done by proving Zeus and Apollo don't exist, and I'll use your method.

Well, you get the idea. No punches pulled and refreshingly incorrect politically. I've watched a half dozen of the 3 minute or so videos and found each one highly entertaining and quite eloquent.

It would be fun to hear what YOU think, so send a comment if so inclined. Be well.

The Wellness Movement Cannot Save The World!

by Don on May 8th, 2008
in General Wellness

A wellness colleague and good friend in Australia wrote me the other day and raised an issue that has been a part of the wellness movement for as long as there has been a wellness movement. Here is what he wrote:

Don - I just had a discussion with a colleague who, until I explained things, had never heard of the wellness movement. I gave him details about the six dimensions of wellness (as outlined by NWI) and several copies of your newsletters where the concept was described. He mentioned a program on television he watched the previous evening about the world food crisis. It highlighted the point you made in a recent blog about the folly of using corn and other food products for running our cars, given world hunger and other poverty situations. He wanted to know what the wellness movement had to say about that. He went on to ask whether the wellness movement only has meaning for those of us who live in a world where we want for nothing and can afford the time and energy to debate such matters.

So Don, what does the wellness movement and its current trends have to say to those who are still grappling with level one of Maslow's list of needs?

I replied that this issue was the number one topic at wellness conferences in the mid-seventies to early eighties, until we all got weary and discouraged by the obvious answer, namely, that the wellness movement has no relevance to world hunger, war and peace or much else relating to Maslow's floor of safety and security. However, that is not the same as concluding that wellness enthusiasts seeking better lifestyles for themselves, family, neighbors and so on can't find endless ways to pursue their passions, including doing one thing or another to try to make the world a somewhat better place. Doing things that entail feeding the hungry, dealing with poverty, promoting peace and/or population control, reducing the toxic influence of religion and so on are best attempted while healthy rather than when sick, so a wellness lifestyle is a partial means to larger ends.

It should go without saying that REAL wellness addresses all these matters or at least encourages those who embrace such an outlook to think critically about as many great issues as one can manage.

My wellness friend in Australia replied as follows:

I fully agree. I don't think that it is possible to have REAL wellness without consideration, and hopefully some action, on these issues. For some, it could mean VOLUNTEERING to provide assistance in areas of need in the less developed world. As far as reducing the influence of toxic religion is concerned, I have no solution. It seems that the more desperate people get, the more they turn to religion. It would be great if we could come up with an alternative. Now, you and I both know that there is an alternative, but selling it to the hungry and illiterate is the challenge.

A matter worth further discussion, I am sure.

Indeed it is. Let's be sensible about this. Wellness is just a lifestyle, not a global scale endeavor to save or even improve the world. It's a good thing, even a wonderful thing when viewed in a context of personal excellence married to a concern for others via good works and wise choices.

But, it is not a panacea for what is wrong with the world. Worse, there IS no panacea for that. Let's hope that more of us do our part in that endeavor in whatever ways we can, little by little and bit by bit over time - while looking after ourselves with wise attitudes, good behaviors and consideration for each other, close to and far from home.

Your thoughts on the scope of wellness in relation to world crises? Comments always welcomed and appreciated.

All the best.

McCain's Health Plan Is Bogus

by Don on April 30th, 2008
in Politics

McCain's so-called plan is not a plan at all -- it's a campaign ad that employs buzzwords to signal insurance company executives that the good times will roll on if he's elected. Ditto all other non-socialized medicine, private sector fat cats who love the prosperous (for them) Bush years. I confess to thinking about how I might start clinging to guns or religion because I'm so bitter about the sorry choices we have for president, McCain being the worst of the lot by a multiplier of at least ten.

Actually, I like Obama but I'm convinced his former pastor has sunk his candidacy lower than the Titanic - far beyond any hope for rescue at this date. Too many undereducated white folks are simply not going to pass up a chance to reject a black guy with serious baggage, or at least with the appearance of such, however ridiculous the basis of such opposition.

No, I don't think there is a chance the Democratic Party will give Obama its nomination, since it seems certain that polling data will soon show that he will surely lose big time to Republican McCain. These ghastly people have been given enough thermonuclear power by the Reverend "Whacko EgoManical" Wright that they will annihilate his prospects of being president. It's over. It's the god-awful Hillary versus the truly dreadful McCain. Hold your nose and hope that Hillary does not lose; prepare your passport if McCain wins. If we get four more years of a Bush clone, expect a secular, non-supernatural "Rapture of Ruin." The economy will plunge into a depression -- the McCain 100 year war in Iraq will continue (the soldiers at least will not go hungry) and, naturally, the health care non-system will remain as dysfunctional as it is, only it will get worse! In time, it will well serve even fewer for even more (money) at even less quality.

Am I horribilizing? Of course. What else should be done when the situation (political and otherwise) is horrible? Pretend all's well?

Oh, what the hell - go ahead, whistle, smile and have a nice day - and always look on the bright side of life.

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