Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Opening Wedge Down the Slippery Slope

"If we allow gay marriage, the next step is polygamy/incestual marriage/marraige to pets/marriage to Fords/etc."

The conservatives and Christianists say this all the time.

Take a step back. What they are actually saying is:

The sole reason that we don't have polygamy/etc. is because gays can't marry. Once gays are allowed to marry, there is no other conceivable reason to bar polygamy, incestual marriage, etc.


The only thing preventing marriage between people and their pets, is the fact that two women who love one another can't marry?

Do they have any idea how stupid that is?

Obviously not.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Death Penalty

There's talk again about the death penalty.

The Ivory Madonna is neither for nor against. Her position is a little more nuanced, and frankly, she distrusts anyone who has an absolutist view on the matter. She distrusts anyone who claims that they know all the answers. Absolutely. :)

Personally, the Ivory Madonna would prefer not to use the death penalty. She tends to agree with Gandalf the Grey: "Many who live deserve death. And some who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement."

Still, in the case of a particularly heinous criminal -- a Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh -- when the evidence is clear-cut and there is no chance of mistake . . . then if you feel that you must execute, for "closure" or "justice" or whatever reason, the Ivory Madonna will not stand in your way.

(She will say that it was probably a mistake to execute McVeigh so soon . . . who knows what accomplices he might have had, or other plans he might have alerted us to? We will never know.)

Now, to the Ivory Madonna's taste, death is too easy a punishment in such cases -- the sort of namby-pamby, bleeding-heart sentimentality that liberals are always accused of. Life in prison -- real prison, not white-collar country clubs -- is a much more lasting punishment, and should satisfy anyone's lust for revenge. But she's certainly not going to object if the rest of you want to put a McVeigh or Dahmer out of his misery quickly.

It's the less clear-cut cases that are the problem, isn't it? The ones where there is a shadow of doubt . . . even a bare possibility of mistake. For death is, in computer terms, "not-undoable." If someone is imprisoned and we find out we've made a mistake, they can be freed. If someone is fined and we find out we've made a mistake, they can be paid back. But if someone is killed and we find out we've made a mistake . . . which we have, in the past . . . there's really no way to make good.

You'd think Christians and Christianists would be familiar with this concept: their Jesus said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." But Christians and Christianists are too busy fighting gay marriage and protesting abortion to speak up about the death penalty.

Long ago, the Ivory Madonna read some philosopher or theologian, she can't remember whom, who was speaking of the existence of Hell. He said: "Because god is just, I believe that there is a Hell. And because god is merciful, I believe that Hell is empty."

The Ivory Madonna thinks that isn't a bad model for the death penalty. Because we are just, we should have a death penalty. And because we are merciful, we should not use it.

Lots of people have the "just" thing down pat; it's the "merciful" that they need to work on.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.