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Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

It seems to me a good idea for our laws to be based on truth.  If the meaning of “miles per hour” is ambiguous, I would want to find the true definition of miles and hour rather than arbitrarily setting up some other explanation.  No argument about how an accurate definition of miles would infringe my freedom to drive as fast as I wanted should be considered.  We might change the law to increase the speed limit if that is our argument, but we cannot keep the existing law and just lie about what all the words mean.

Personhood is such an issue.  We have a law that guarantees life and due process to all persons.  If we don’t like that law, we can try to change it so that not all persons are so guaranteed.  (That law, incidentally, is based on a moral judgment that murder is wrong.  Many of our laws are enforcement of morality.)  What we cannot do is alter the definition of a person to mean something that it truly does not.  Defining the word “person” to include my rocking chair would be absurd.  Including my pet would be a stretch not intended by those who wrote the law.  Excluding my neighbor with freckles is dishonest.  Saying that my neighbor in the womb is less of a person than me is too arbitrary to be good science or good law.

Some would argue that the truth reflected in our laws should be based on precedent.  This breaks down for a number of reasons.  First, we have the problem of where the very first precedents got their truth.  History does not record an eternal list of precedents.  Secondly, we can point to many court rulings that have been made by liars, self-serving judges who refused to acknowledge the truth.  For example, see the slavery decision Dred Scott.  Finally, precedents can (and sometimes should) be overturned.  The “landmark” ruling that made abortion legal throughout the USA, Roe v. Wade, overturned many state laws that had been in existence for years.  It wasn’t that the question of reproductive rights had never been in court before; this was simply the first time the Supreme Court said abortion was a mother’s “right.”  (I must specify that it was seen as a woman’s right, not a man’s right or a baby’s right – which is important.  Roe v. Wade rests in the supposition that the baby is actually a part of the mother, thus giving her special privileges to end his life.  US law does not give a man the right to decide a mother must abort.  In fact, it will punish those criminals who assault a preborn child.  Nor does the legal system ask the baby, who is demonstrably a separate entity from his mother, whether he wants to be aborted, or acknowledge his right to life.  This is what Personhood seeks to amend.)

Another supposed basis for the truth of our laws is democracy.  What does the majority believe or want?  While our government is set up as a participatory representative system, where the voice of the people influences the leaders making the laws and even at times the laws themselves, this is arguably not the best means for ensuring justice.  The majority has sometimes voted for terrorist governments.  Or for slavery.  Hitler got his first foothold of power through democracy.  A majority of people once believed the world was flat.  We human beings are special, but not powerful enough to mold truth as we wish it was.  Republics like ours, the founding fathers warned us, are only sustainable, only free, if they are comprised of a moral citizenry.  The people must acknowledge a standard outside of themselves, and align with that, for freedom and justice to exist.

Can science be used to decide such a moral and philosophical question as what constitutes life or personhood?  We already have these philosophical terms in our law.  These words have been applied to at least some groups of humanity since the law was written.  No one disputes that the word “person” applies to a large part of humanity (always including the one making the judgment).  And here comes science, demonstrating that there is no significant, meaningful difference between one group of human beings and another.  Science can demonstrate that skin color is not a factor in personhood.  Size does not make person more of a person.  In fact, science can tell us that a human being has the same unique DNA from the moment of conception, at their birth, as they grow from infants to adolescents to fully-formed adults, even as they age and their health declines.

Any lines that have been proposed distinguishing one class of human beings as non-persons have been arbitrary.  Every person needs two things to continue living: nourishment and defense from violence.  The fertilized egg, the single-celled human embryo, needs only these things to develop into an adult.  An infant 1 year of age is still very dependent on his parents for the necessary nourishment and protection.  But given these things, he will grow into a man.  A young woman has to go through puberty to give her the hourglass shape associated with womanhood (and the ability to reproduce).  Where do you draw the line?  Which of these stages begins personhood?

In the history of this debate, the line of personhood has been suggested to begin:

–         at some point after birth when the baby is still dependent on his parents.  (If we draw the line at 3 months, was he less of a human the 24 hours before he was 3 months?  Honestly?)

–         at the first breath of air.  (Are humans receiving CPR or on ventilators not people?  What about the pre-mi’s born and kept alive for months by artificial breathing machines, to be weaned off when their lungs developed fully?)

–         when the baby completely leaves the womb – birth.  (Ten inches decides the identity of a human being?  There have been surgeries performed on preborn babies that involve removing the infants from the womb and then returning them there.  Are they people while out of the womb, then non-people again?  What has changed in the baby?)

–         at viability.  (Come What May, a film produced by the students at Patrick Henry College, makes the point that when we talk about viability, we are talking about viability sustained by human inventions.  Most babies are viable in the womb.  When we talk about viability, though, we disqualify that means of life support and substitute our own.  Man is not better than God at providing a hospitable environment for the youngest among us.  Even aside from that argument, our technology is improving.  A child who was not viable outside the womb 20 years ago might be now.  Nothing changed in the abilities or nature of the children.  We changed.)

–         when the mother can first detect movement – sometimes called “quickening.”  (Some mothers are more sensitive to the movement of their child than others.  Body shape and other factors might contribute to missing the first sensations of motion.  Also, some preborn babies move less or less emphatically than others.  We know from scientific experience that the baby is moving: swimming – from day one when he moves to the uterus!, kicking, waving, turning, changing facial expressions.  Again, this line is not dependent on the nature of the being inside the mother.)

–         at the beginning of biological development – called fertilization or conception.  (At this point a new life is begun.  Already his DNA has determined his features, his gender, his blood type – all of which can be different from his mother’s.  Before this moment, more was needed than nourishment and protection.  After this he will grow at his own body’s initiative and direction.)

All but the last “line” are arbitrary – as arbitrary as me deciding you were not a person because you live in the country, or because your skin is a different color from mine, or because I can whistle and you can’t (actually, I can’t), or worse: if I can’t hear you whistle even when you are.  Science and a bit of logic can recognize that there is no objective difference between adults like us and the kids who are so needy and the preborn.  Draw the line at conception.  Anything else is discrimination.

One more point I’d like to address is the legal objection many put forward.  In most abortion laws, pro-abortion activists push for “exceptions,” when a baby may still be killed.  They say that oh yes, abortion is a tragedy and we want it to be rare.  But surely there are bigger tragedies that abortion could solve: rape, incest, the life of the mother.

Regarding the “life of the mother” exception: our definition of person begins at conception.  It doesn’t end at birth.  This definition includes mothers.  The life of the baby is not, by this truth-reliant definition, more or less important than the mother’s.  Doctors and parents would be legally required to treat that baby as a person, without treating the mother as a non-person.  That’s the answer to the most common “life of the mother” clause.  No exception is necessary in the wording used by Personhood groups, because they affirm the right of the mother to life as well as the right of the baby.

But there are other “exceptions” argued for.  These tragedies are chosen for the exception list emotionally.  Why not include in the list: financial incompetence, household over-population, genetic deformity?  And if you go that far, why not make exceptions for gender, for the mom’s busy career, for her relationship with the father?  I’m not saying that everyone pushing for a few exceptions wants all of these exceptions.  My goal is to make it obvious that to be consistent in their reasoning, they should include all of these exceptions.  In every case the baby is a person.

That’s why I want to finish by asking you a few questions:

–         Is a human being not a person if her father is a rapist?  Is a 3 year old not a person if her father is a rapist?  Do you have less rights if your father was a rapist?

–         Is a human being not a person if his mother gets cancer?  Is a 3 year old not a person if his mom gets cancer?  Do you have less rights if your mother gets cancer?

–         Is a human being not a person if he and his mother are in danger and only one of them can be rescued?  Is a 3 year old not a person if he and his mother are in danger and only one of them can be rescued?  Do you have less rights if you and your mother are in danger and only one of you can be rescued?

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This may be a little belated for anyone trying to decide how to vote around here.  Then again we have a lot of procrastinators in this country.  Whether you’ve already voted or not, or even if you don’t live in Colorado, I hope that this little study of the ballot issues and why I am for or against them will educate you on my views about government. 

 

Amendment 46: Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by Governments prohibited excepting federal programs, existing court orders or other legally binding agreements and bona fide qualifications based on sex. 

 

The text of this amendment prohibits government discrimination FOR or against people seeking public employment, education, or contracts.  It lists race, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin as the categories protected against discrimination.  I do not believe that this is any threat to our liberties as a nation, nor an affront to our morals.  The language prohibits affirmative action, which is one of the most frustrating forms of intentional discrimination practiced in our country.  I’m glad to support an amendment restricting this injustice. 

 

YES on Amendment 46. 

 

Amendment 47: Prohibition on Mandatory Labor Union Membership and Dues (as a condition of employment; including government and private employers)

 

For my thoughts on this issue, I am grateful to a friend who works in businesses where membership in a union is the only way contractors are connected with work.  The bidding process is handled by unions, or something like that.  So if membership in a union were not mandatory, then either there would be no work for them or some employees who are union men would carry the financial load for their coworkers in an essential part of their business. 

 

Secondly, this law places restrictions on the employer, which is not healthy for an economy.  I believe that the owner of a business has a right to do as he will with his business, and if employees don’t like the way they’re treated or the conditions of their employment, they can look for a new job.  This is the free market system.  I almost always side with employers and owners. 

 

NO on Amendment 47. 

 

Amendment 48: Definition of Person

 

I have covered this topic at length on this blog.  The Colorado Constitution guarantees certain rights to all persons in this state.  We in the pro-life movement believe that this law, which includes the right to life and due process, should have been applied all along to all persons, no matter how small, including the unborn.  The fact that over 40 abortions are performed in Colorado every day is evidence that this law is not being enforced this way.  Thousands of innocent babies are being deprived of their fundamental and legal right to life because judges have declared this word “person” to be ambiguous.  The campaign argues that medical science and common sense make it clear when life and personhood begins, and it is at fertilization.  There is no other possible and logical place at which to draw the line.  We believe that defining personhood will uplift the value we as citizens of Colorado place on life, from the smallest among us to the strongest and healthiest adult to the sick or the elderly. 

 

Arguments against this amendment center selfishly around the repercussions of acknowledging the inescapable fact that these tiny lives are persons.  Opponents would rather deny the personhood of these babies so that they can continue to murder them for any and every reason.  These campaigners, who stand to lose a profitable industry in abortion, threaten that this law will force mothers to sacrifice their lives for terminal preborn children in cases such as eptopic pregnancies.  However, the law will not assert the rights of one life over another.  If a woman’s life is at risk, or the life of a twin is really threatened by a child, nothing in this law prohibits the defense of the endangered lives.  Do not let these tragic instances keep you from defending 40 babies a day or more by defining them in the law as we already know them scientifically to be: individual living persons. 

 

YES on Amendment 48. 

 

Amendment 49:  Prohibit the government from deducting things like union dues from the paychecks of public employees. 

 

This law will protect public employees from deductions not endorsed by the government.  At present employees must take extra action to prevent the deductions.  This would put the burden of collection of union dues or other contributions on the unions, relieving the government from the burden of collecting the money for them.  We shouldn’t make the government the middle man for other agencies. 

 

YES on Amendment 49.

 

Amendment 50: Return decisions about the limits on Gaming (gambling) in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to the respective communities, including casino hours, types of games offered, and limits on bet amounts. 

 

I am morally opposed to gambling, and thus believe that it should be illegal.  This is not the case in Colorado, but I do not want it expanded.  Additionally, this law directs most of the potential additional revenue to State community colleges.  I believe it is none of the government’s business to be involved in education in any way, let alone in funding.  And I always vote against increases in taxes until the government can prove themselves good and law-abiding stewards of the money already entrusted to them. 

 

NO on Amendment 50. 

 

Amendment 51: Increases the state sales tax and directs the revenue to services for people with developmental disabilities.  

 

Again, I always vote against tax increases until the government can prove themselves faithful stewards of our money.  However, if they were to use part of their existing budget to fund social or charity programs like this, I would consider them failing in their trust.  Charity is best done privately, without government middle men.  I do not want my government taking the privilege of administering help to my neighbors away for me.  When they do this, the people begin to view the government more and more as the savior and provider.  They will continually vote themselves largesse, as Alexander de Toqueville warned.  I believe we should help these people, but I believe the help should be private, led by individuals, charities, and churches. 

 

NO on Amendment 51. 

 

Amendment 52: Use severance tax (which has nothing to do with our normal use of the word severance) revenue for highways. 

 

This law takes budgeting into the hands of the people.  However, it is a narrow-minded and inflexible law not allowing for changing and competing needs of things other than transportation.  Not only does the law limit the use of this revenue to highways; it specifies which highways, which is not at all a fair deal for all of Colorado.  The legislature is responsible for directing money to important projects like government highways and water storage.  Though I have little confidence in our legislature at the moment, I believe the solution is to elect men of integrity to office, who will be competent representatives in our state; not to take responsibility away from them in one of their few legitimate spheres. 

 

NO on Amendment 52. 

 

Amendment 53 has been withdrawn per proponent’s request and no votes for or against will be recorded. 

 

Amendment 54: Campaign Contributions from Certain Government Contractors.  This law would do three things: 1) prohibit contractors working for the government, whose contracts are worth more than $100,000 and whose award of the contract was not the result of solicitation of at least three competitive bids, from contributing to political parties or candidates during the contract’s duration and 2 years after.  2) Encourage government entities to solicit 3 competitive bids for each contract.  3) Set up an online, publicly accessible database of all government contracts awarded to companies for which there was no competitive bid. 

 

I am not opposed to requiring governments to welcome competitive bids for projects.  This is the responsible and honest thing to do.  The online database is a little over the top, but their heart is in the right place.  HOWEVER, I am 100% opposed to prohibiting a company or individual from contributing to a candidate or party of their choice.  The way to prevent corruption is to elect honest officials and to pay close attention to the government, not to restrict the rights of free men in this state.  An honest contractor can have interests in seeing one candidate elected, and ought to be able to do his part to ensure that victory without being accused of paying for the privilege of government contracts.  (For example, a small businessman may want to contribute money to a candidate who says he will lower taxes on small business versus an opponent who will raise them.  The businessman if he is smart will realize it is in his economic interest to help the lower tax candidate to be elected, and ought to be free to contribute money to that candidate.)  We cannot ask our contractors to surrender their right to political involvement simply so they can have work.  Fight corruption other ways! 

 

NO on Amendment 54. 

 

Amendments 55, 56, and 57 have been withdrawn by their respective proponents.  No votes for or against will be reported. 

 

Amendment 58: Increase the amount of state severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies, and allocate that revenue to college scholarships, wildlife habitats, renewable energy projects, and transportation projects in energy-impacted areas.  And exempt all oil and gas severance tax revenue from state and local spending limits. 

 

I am against raising taxes.  In some campaigns this season tax cuts for oil companies has been thrown around like a slur, but it is not.  Tax credits are the way that the tax system is designed.  I don’t like it, but until you change the whole thing you can’t just eliminate one part of it.  Oil companies are not bad guys.  The reason people don’t like them is because we were paying $4 a gallon for gasoline earlier this year.  The government took a large portion of that amount in taxes.  If we raise taxes on the companies that supply gasoline, they will either have to cut spending (and reduce supply!) or pass on the price hike to us the consumers.  What’s more, the tax credit is an incentive for oil and gas industries to do business in Colorado.  We do not want the jobs and revenue they provide to leave our state for more competitive areas. 

 

I do not want revenue to go to colleges, to wildlife habitats (since when is this a legitimate concern for a government?), renewable energy (get the energy companies to invest in these technologies themselves; they will), etc. 

 

NO on Amendment 58. 

 

Amendment 59: Eliminate the rebates that taxpayers receive when the state collects more money than it is allowed, and spend the money on preschool through 12th grade public education. 

 

No to tax increases.  Do not eliminate TABOR, the main pillar of which is essentially to balance the state budget by requiring refunds to taxpayers when we are taxed over budget.  No to public schools.  Schooling is a private responsibility, dangerous and inefficient in the hands of the government. 

 

While I’m at it I’ll throw in the State Referendums, too. 

 

Referendum L: lower the age requirement for serving in the state legislature from 25 to 21. 

 

Why not?  The fact that we have so many ages defining maturity in our state is ridiculous.  At sixteen you can get a driver’s license, at 18 you can vote.  When you are 21 you can drink.  And at 25 you can be a member of the legislature.  (There are ages for adopting and renting cars, for buying lottery tickets and being out after curfew.  It’s all a very confusing mess.)  You may say that there are very irresponsible 21 year olds.  Yet 21 year olds can vote, and a stack of voting 21 year olds can do a lot more damage than one 21 year old who must be duly elected before holding office.  If a 21 year old is counted qualified for the job by the people, he ought to have the job.  My brother is 20.  If he did a little research on government and wanted to run for office, I would want the privilege of voting for him.  Because while there are admittedly immature 21 year olds (and 25 year olds, and 50 year olds!), there are also mature and capable ones. 

 

YES on Referendum L. 

 

Referendum M and Referendum N are about removing obsolete provisions from the laws.  I am not opposed to this, but read them; they constitute a mini-history lesson. 

 

Referendum O: Change requirements for citizen-initiated State laws. 

 

Right now citizens (as opposed to government officials/legislators) can initiate state amendments or statutes that must meet certain requirements to make the ballot, and even then must be approved by voters.  And amendment is part of the constitution, originally intended to describe the rights of the people and the limits of the government.  These laws are permanent unless repealed by the people with another constitutional amendment.  Statutes are laws as well, but refer more to the practical application of principles (traffic laws, etc.)  Statutes may be made or altered by the legislature without reference to the people in an election.  Or they may be citizen-initiated.  By nature, statutes are less permanent.  Presently the requirements for getting either an amendment or a statute on the ballot are the same, and they are relatively easy compared to other states. 

 

Referendum O seeks to make statutes easier to put on the ballot by reducing the number of petition signatures required. 

 

The referendum would make amendments harder to get on the ballot in two primary ways: 1) increase the required number of signatures.  2) require that eight percent of signatures be gathered from each congressional district

 

I’m up in the air on whether I want it to be easy or hard for citizens to initiate legislation.  I’ve heard arguments on either side.  HOWEVER, I am completely opposed to this referendum because of the 8% requirement.  An amendment could be blocked from the ballot by a minority, by one section of the state.  I’m not sure what the lines are for congressional districts, but this referendum would say that if Boulder residents didn’t want an amendment, even if Pueblo, Grand Junction, Greeley, Bennet, Denver, and Estes Park wanted it, the petition would be rejected.  This is not republican government.  It is rule by a minority.  This would prevent legislation that would be in the interest of the state as a whole from being even introduced in ballot form because one district decided it was not in their interest.  We cannot do this. 

 

NO on Referendum O. 

 

I’m welcoming you to interact with this “voter guide” for educational purposes.  Please do not campaign in the comment section.  Comments are moderated, and I’m giving fair warning that I may choose not to post some comments.  However, if your comments are gracious and profitable for the conversation, I will post them even in disagreement that we all may be sharpened. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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