Friday, November 7, 2014

Death and Dignity

After reading a friend's blog article about Brittany Maynard, I was going to write a reply on his post. But given how at odds we are on the religious spectrum, him being white male Protestant and me being Creole female nothing, I decided that maybe it would be better if I didn't. Rereading my comment, I felt like it would be offensive to him on a personal and religious level. Much as I enjoy discussing religion with others, I don't enjoy offending them. So here is my expanded comment in response to his post, 3 things I would have told Brittany Maynard.

Very well written. I'm afraid I have to disagree with it though.

Yes, she'd be alive and with her family. But what's more cruel: for her to be slowly and painfully dying for a few more years before passing on -or- for her family's selfish need to have her that way because "she means more to us alive than dead"? Yes, life is precious. But at some point quality of life must override our need for that person to be alive.

Both of my grandmothers died from strokes; one took years to slowly fade while the other died after two days. As much as I love and miss them every single day, I would have rather seen neither one suffer as they did if there was an alternative.

Gramma lived with us for a while after her second stroke, before Hurricane Katrina. I was away at college when she first moved in but when I came home for the summer I helped my mother take care of her. She needed help with *everything* and I know she hated being a burden. I know she did appreciate when I made the bed nice and tight for her. After Katrina, our house was destroyed, all of our families were displaced, so she was put into an assisted hospital room as soon as my aunts could find one in the city. There she wasted away even further. The last time I saw her, she spoke in a whisper because to her ears her voice sounded too loud. The next time I saw her several months later was at her funeral.

Granny had a stroke the day after having surgery. She lay in a medically induced coma for two days. The doctors said she had a very low chance of waking up and if she did then she'd basically be a nearly vegetable and would have to relearn everything and would never have the same quality of life. So on the second night when she took a turn for the worse, her children decided to take her off of life-support. She passed after just 30 minutes.

What was more cruel? For each to lay alive but suffering? Or for us the family to selfishly wish them this way so that we would still have them?

"Beauty in suffering" sounds like a cop-out. That is one thing I'll never understand about the more conservative sects of Christianity. How can you believe that God *wants* you to suffer? And not just suffer but to glorify His name *while and because* you're suffering! I mean, it just blows my mind. I thought God was supposed to be loving and caring and compassionate. Not reveling in your pain. I just don't understand, can't fathom, why someone would find comfort in a sadistic masochistic God. He is above all that shit. Why would he care if you suffer? Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience. Why would He need you to suffer in order to be more awesome? It doesn't make sense. At. All.

I think better to "die with dignity" than to suffer for selfishness.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


For the many, the word freedom has just as many meanings. In general, I think we can agree that freedom means not being held back or oppressed by some outer force.

With this in mind, I have a very difficult time understanding the oppression of a certain type of people. There is no more racial segregation, or slavery, or woman's oppression. The main oppression is currently that of the LGBT community. Such a statistically small group of humans that has this country in an uproar.

The arguments against gay marriage are not varied much and usually have a religious tone. Sanctity of marriage, sin of homosexuality, family values, etc. That's fine, I understand your concerns about someone else's basic human civil rights tarnishing your upstanding views of this church right.

That's just it, though. The institution of marriage is at base a CIVIL contract. Even when you marry in the CHURCH, you still have to sign a CIVIL contract to make everything legal. The LGBT community is fighting for their right to the CIVIL contract, not the CHURCH covenant. Therefore, if any legislation denies a group of people a CIVIL right, that legislation is unconstitutional, in my opinion.

A New Orleans U.S. District judge just upheld a law banning same-sex marriage in Louisiana. I was ready to read the opinion with bias against the judge. However, having just now read the ruling, I actually understand why he ruled to uphold the ban.

Here are a few key points that stand out to me:

1. Protected Class - Members of the LGBT community are not legally considered a protected class (yet). Therefore, any legislation banning them from civil rights is actually constitutional.

2. Fundamental Right - This was an interesting bit for me. We so quickly throw out the term "fundamental right", however the right has to be "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" to be considered fundamental. In this manner, same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right, it's a fairly new concept that is not as deeply rooted in our history.

3. Can of worms - If the courts are to allow same-sex marriage, where does that stop? The judge gives the examples of aunts and nieces, brother and brother, minors, polygamy, a transgender spouse. While some of these are a bit silly sounding, there will be need to be precedents set to limit this equally loving relationships. The court is not able to focus on same-sex marriage without considering any potential future repercussions. The plaintiffs were unable to say why these "unusual" unions "would result in 'significant societal harms'" yet same-sex wouldn't.

Throughout the opinion, Judge Feldman seems to side with the defendants, who seemed more prepared, than with the plaintiffs, though he is sympathetic to their pleas. This makes it seem as if the judge is biased against same-sex marriage, but I believe that in his writings he shows that he is trying to be unbiased. He acknowledges the different viewpoints and shows which arguments helped and hindered each side. He supported his opinion with legislature and other Courts' opinions. In the end, he seems to fervently hope that this issue is resolved "democratically" but says that he cannot rule to release the ban because same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right of a class that is not protected when there is the historic and traditional legislation in place for the greater good of the people. He ends by saying that if plaintiffs can establish a "genuine dispute regarding a First Amendment violation on this record" this outcome would have been different.

I support equality among humans. I know the granting the civil right of same-sex unions is a huge scary big deal for the States and Country and its people. There will come a time when all people will be treated equal. If you are active in supporting the cause, don't despair. It may take a generation for positive legislative change, but it will happen.

Opponents will continue making it a religious issue. Like Former Louisiana legislator Tony Perkins: "This decision is a victory for the rule law, and for religious liberty and free speech which are undermined anywhere marriage is redefined." ( This is not a religious fight, it's a civil fight. I'm not sure how allowing two persons of the same sex a right to a civil union will do anything to undermine your religious liberty... Someone please explain that to me.

So, I ask that you take a moment and read the opinion. I hope you find that he wasn't putting down same-sex marriage any further than it is but rather that he was unable, given the material provided, to find enough reasonable cause to overrule current legislation.