Mike Shakespeare's letter in Monday's Juneau Empire exhorts us to vote "Yes" on religious grounds in the April 3 advisory vote on same-sex benefits for state workers.
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I will be voting, but I'll vote "No," not only because I totally disagree with the measure's premise, but also because this effort resolves nothing. The ballot measure is incapable of changing anything. It's merely an expensive opinion poll.
The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal.
It's that simple. The notion that pursuing an amendment to the Alaska Constitution is needed or even feasible is shortsighted, mean-spirited and silly. (Any proposed constitutional amendment would have to first pass the state House and Senate with two-thirds majorities and then by a majority vote of Alaskans during the 2008 general election.) Each state employee is hired and works under the same expectations and should be able to participate in any benefits accrued in the fulfillment of those expectations.
The Bible says a good deal about sins, some of which tend not to be as loudly touted as others.
For example, 2 Timothy 3 says, "Selfish, lovers of money, boastful, conceited, gossips, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unable to love and to forgive, slanderers, without self-control, cruel, enemies of good, traitors, shameless, full of pride, more in love with pleasure than with God. They will keep the appearance of piety, while rejecting its demands. Enter houses and captivate weak women, full of sins, swayed by all kinds of passion, who are always learning but never grasping knowledge of the truth."
Other parts of the Bible pronounce judgment on specific sins that are very common, sins that no doubt Mr. Shakespeare is prone to. Failure to fulfill the law includes death by stoning.
But I think perhaps this is the last word:
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 'Master, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
"And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22).
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