Friday, May 30, 2014

Marriage Equality Church: Becoming an Official Non-Profit Organization

I have my EIN number, and I have the forms filled out to incorporate in Pennsylvania.  Once the papers are filed with Pennsylvania, I can make the Marriage Equality Church (its corporate name, but perhaps not its DBA) an official 501(c)3 organization, which means all donations would be tax deductible.

Since it is a church, no determination letter is required for the donation to be tax deductible.  I can understand if people want to wait until the status is official to donate, but if you do donate now, the 501(c)3 status will be in place before you file taxes next.  Stay tuned.  I will post here when the status is official, for those who want to (understandably) wait.

In the meantime, I am drawing up a statement regarding the mission of the church and its core system of ethics, which are based on love, empathy, and altruism.

Prospective sites for the marriage equality church

I've found two properties for sale that will work for the purposes of the marriage equality church.  Take a look:

Here is the one I really want to buy:

I am not doing this because I suddenly got religion or I want to start a religious church.  The purpose of this project is to bring people together, no matter what their sexual orientation.  I will perform secular ceremonies, but people who want something else are welcome to bring their own officiant.

I would love to rent out offices in the one home to marriage counselors and wedding planners, possibly.  We'll see.  This property comes with two homes.

Now all we need are donations.  If you support this cause, any level of donation will do.  $1.00, $5.00, $10.00--whatever you can spare at the moment.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why do people hate love?

Being in love is the greatest feeling I've experienced.  It's wonderful to know that I have an incredible woman with whom to share affection, intimacy, laughs, and memories.  It's great to know I have someone who not only encourages my endeavors, but also supports me and works with me as I do them.  She has encouraged my weight loss and my writing.  She has advocated for my child.  She has done so much for me and with me, I can't imagine life without her now.

Most people think it's just fine that I feel this way about another woman, but what if I felt this way about another man?  There would be people who actually found this attraction disgusting.  Why?  It's still love.  What's to hate?  When someone finds this kind of happiness in another human being, we should be celebrating, not hating.  It's so rare to find someone so compatible with whom we can be intimate, it's hard to understand why anyone would want to deprive another human being of that sort of experience.  In fact, I consider it cruel and heartless to work against such a bond between consenting adults.

Why do they hate?  Some use religion as the excuse say they "love the sinner, not the sin."  There are many problems with this line of thinking, not the least of which includes the fact that most of the people who use it have never actually read the book from which the idea of homosexuality being a sin derives.  The Bible describes many things as sin that we wouldn't give a second thought about today, including eating shellfish, wearing clothes made of blended fabrics, shaving men's faces, and getting tattoos, just to name a few.  This same book calls for the penalty of death for things like drunkenness, adultery, blasphemy, and working on the Sabbath, but nobody punishes people for these things in American society today.  Yet, they focus on homosexuality, which does no harm to anyone--but the hatred, ostracism, and societal pressure against homosexuality does harm those who are attracted to members of the same sex.

The problem with using religion as an excuse in the United States is that imposition of one's religion on others is a violation of their Free Exercise, which is protected by the First Amendment.  People are allowed to believe--or not believe--as they choose, so imposing religious ideology on others goes against the spirit of the Constitution.  I don't think any of the cases that examine the rights of same-sex couples have taken a First Amendment approach; they seem to focus on Equal Protection, which comes from the Fourteenth Amendment.   The case is simply more solid, since it's difficult to prove that religion is the motivation behind bans of same-sex marriage without religious language in the laws.  Having laws that only heterosexual citizens can enjoy violates Equal Protection pretty explicitly.  Here is a list of legal benefits married couples enjoy:

Some say homosexuality is not natural, but it has been observed in over 1500 species, not just ours.  Some say that marriage between homosexuals is pointless, because they can't reproduce.  They actually can, through artificial insemination of lesbian women and surrogate mothers for gay men, for example.  Their reproductive organs still work.  That aside, heterosexual couples can get married, but remain childless.  Heterosexuals who have no ability to reproduce whatsoever, due to vasectomy, tubal ligation, or hysterectomy, can get married without issue, and nobody seems to care.  Reproduction aside, loving couples can adopt children if they want, and what's wrong with bringing children into a loving home?

Finally, there's the argument about how marriage of same-sex couples will destroy "traditional" marriage, by which they mean marriage between one man and one woman.  These same people talk about the sanctity of marriage.  If marriage is so solid and sacred, why are half of them ending in divorce?  Homosexuals being married will do nothing to destroy marriage; marriages are destroyed through financial problems, dishonesty, infidelity, drinking, drug problems, and strong disagreements over all sorts of issues, but over marriage between members of the same sex?  It's a patently ridiculous argument.  "Hey, honey, look at that couple over there.  They're gay!  How terrible for our marriage."  Really?  How so?  How does their love make you hate each other, or even love each other less?  Their love should make you warm and happy inside, and in celebrating it, make your bond with your significant other stronger.  You should reflect on why they love each other, and in so doing, reflect on why you love your significant other.  Love should be a celebration, not a cause for alarm.

I strongly support love, whatever form it takes, between consenting adults.  That's why I want to have a place where couples can go without hassle to get married, regardless of sexual orientation.  Please support me in this mission.

Marriage Equality Church: Vision

Have you ever experienced love?  I have.  I'm madly, deeply in love with a woman who is everything I've wanted in a partner and more.  She's made me happier than I've ever been.  I want everyone who is able to experience the feelings I have for her, the happiness I share with her, and the compatibility I found in her to be able to commit to the other person, if they so choose, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since I am about to make Pennsylvania my home, and Pennsylvania has called the ban on marriage between same-sex couples unconstitutional, I want to help all couples who want to take the step to have their commitment recognized by the state to be able to do so, thereby gaining the same rights heterosexual couples have today all over the United States.

That's why I decided to look for church property for sale and start a marriage equality church.  Its official name might not be "Marriage Equality Church", but it will be a place where any couple can have a wedding.  I will perform secular ceremonies there, but if a couple has a religious preference, they are welcome to have an officiant of their choosing perform the ceremony.

I'm doing this because I strongly support love, and I think it's only fair that as long as it's two consenting adults, anyone who feels love should have the same rights I am able to enjoy.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

On Chuck Norris

I know lots of people have fun on the Internet with hyperbolic jokes about how much of a bad ass Chuck Norris supposedly is, but I die a little inside every time I see a fellow atheist prop him up this way. An argument could be made that it's not really propping him up; the hyperbole could simply be satirizing how he's portrayed in the (bad) movies he's done, as well as that crappy television series Conan O'Brien likes to make fun of incessantly.

Whatever the case, it should be known that Chuck Norris hates atheists, that he believes separation of state and church is a myth, pushes for Bible curriculum in public schools, and is against vaccinations. Here is some source material to back up my claims:

An article by Chuck Norris himself, talking about vaccines causing autism:

Another article by Norris, claiming that atheists are trying to revise America's history on separation of state and church:

In this example, Norris says that he would "Tattoo an American flag with the words, 'In God We Trust,' on the forehead of every atheist.": This is an article he wrote himself:

Here is Chuck and his wife, Gina, advertising for the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools:

On a final note, Bruce Lee was an atheist, and he kicked Chuck Norris' ass. We should kick his ass to the curb in pop culture, too. He's not just religious--he's a religious nut, and wants you to be one, too.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My daughter's art show project

From May 2nd through the 4th, Caitlin's art project appeared at the Fine Arts Festival in Wadsworth Ohio, which was held at the middle school.  It's a close-up of an owl's face, done in various colors.  I put it up on DeviantArt for sale, if anyone wants prints.  Any money earned is hers, not mine.  If she gets a significant amount, I'll invest a percentage for her and put the rest into her therapy.  She can use some extra speech and occupational therapy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Comparing autism to atheism?

You know what's immoral? Worshiping a deity who punishes finite crimes with eternal torment. 

You know what's immoral? Shunning your family members if they don't believe as you do.

You know what's immoral? Turning your back on your child if it turns out that he or she is attracted to members of the same sex. 

You know what's immoral? Believing in a book that condones slavery, misogyny, and the death penalty for such "crimes" as blasphemy, drunkenness, getting tattoos, eating shellfish, wearing material blends, and premarital sex. 

You know what's immoral? Thinking it's okay to believe in a book that condones forcing rape victims to marry their rapists. 

You know what's immoral? Asking a father to sacrifice his son to you. 

You know what's immoral? Telling people that they are innately wicked, so you can sell them salvation from the wickedness you've convinced them is at the core of their nature. 

You know what's immoral? Using autism as a comparison point for anyone's immorality, as if there's something wrong with autistic people.