Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why I am a Secular Humanist Part 4 -- Gay Marriage, Capital Punishment, Pornography, Abortion, Animals

In this entry I will state my conclusions regarding some hot button issues.

Gay Marriage
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     The state ought to get out of the marriage business altogether.  Marriage between two or three or ten adults should be a private matter.  As far as the other issues freqeuently raise, hospital visiting privileges and family health care plans...  I don't understand why a patient can't just say in advance who should be able to visit them.  AND there should already be UNIVERSAL, FREE, HEALTH COVERAGE for all Americans.  That would solve the family health care question.  I believe such a thing is possible, but it will take time and commitment.

Capital Punishment
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Capital Punishment should be banned.  It is excessive and is a non-deterrant.  People are ultimately not responsible for their behavior, so why should we punish them as though they were 'evil'?  We should realize that people become murderers etc... for reasons.  Those of us not subjected to their experience or biology should consider ourselves fortunate.  I think our understanding of human frailty should increase our compassion even to those of us who do the most horrible things.  Obviously society needs to be protected from such people, being cruel accomplishes nothing.

Pornography
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     I'm not a consumer of pornography, so I'm out of my depth here.  A priori I think that while some pornography is surely degrading to women, it's at least not obvious that all of it must be.  I also have not done a thorough study of any literature regarding the effects of pornography on society or culture.  Thus I'm out of the loop.  My first assessment is adult pornography should remain legal.  Child pornography should be punished severely.


Abortion
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     I don't believe in Human Rights.  They don't exist.  They are a bi-product of an old way of talking.  We can use them as a short hand for talking about things in our society, but they ultimately refer to nothing.  Thus, all disputes over the 'right to life' or the 'right to abortion' are all wet.  I cannot decide who has a right to what since rights themselves are fictions.  In my own mind I am sympathetic both to the fetus and the mother.  In the end I think there should be a limit to end term abortions to those procedures protecting the mother.  In the early stages clearly the mother's wishes should take precedence. 


Animals
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I was a vegetarian for a long time and then fell off the wagon.  I wish I were a vegetarian again, but I seem to lack the self control. I think we should remember that animals suffer and thus we should do everything we can to reduce this suffering.  I've tried to get back on the wagon a couple of times, but end up eating a steak or something on an impulse.  If anyone has any advice...

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