...then there are some things about me you should know. Most are self-evident (if you've read this blog or know me on Facebook, into which this post will get imported). But they bear repeating anyway.
1. I am an atheist. I view religion/gods as creations of men. They are mythology. Yes, that includes the Christian God, Allah, the Jewish God (all three of which refer to the same mythological entity), Zeus, Apollo, the gods of Battlestar Galactica, that "god creature" in Star Trek V...I give them all equal credence. Which is to say, none. I'll be respectful of your views, in as much as they are not shoved on me, but I certainly do not believe in the absurd fiction of the United States being a "Christian nation" or that any of the various religions are any better/worse/significantly different than the other. Seriously, it's all sci-fi/fantasy. Bottom line...I'm not out to convert you, don't try to convert/convince me.
2. I believe in equal rights. Regardless of race, gender, religion (yes, I am against discrimination based on the mythology I personally don't believe in), sexual orientation...what have you, I do not belive in discriminating based on things you are a) born with or b) choose to believe in terms of religion or politics.
3. The separation of church and state and freedom of speech are more important to me than pretty much any other right in the Constitution (save, possibly, the right to vote). Along those lines, I am 110% opposed to organized school/governmental prayer, giving taxpayer money to religious charities (frankly, charities of any sort...charity is personal, not a government job), and religious oaths in government/military applications. I am fully, 110% in support of removing "under God" from the Pledge of Alliegence (restoring it to it's pre-1954 form), and restoring our national motto to "E Pluribus Unum" vice the current (and incorrect) "In God We Trust".
4. I fully support the right of same-sex couples to marry. Civil unions are a step in the right direction, but reek of "seperate but equal". Marriage is a fundamental right. And no, our rights are not constrained to only those in the Constitution. It even says so in the Constitution. Bottom line...if you don't agree with same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same gender. And no...I'm not gay. Why people feel the need to make "queer jokes" because I stand up for the rights of gays, I'll never know. Even if you take the opposing view, it's simply childish to make comments like that.
5. I do not believe in a welfare/nanny state, but I do believe that we should have a social "safety net" that includes unemployment coverage, health care, and job placement assistance. I have no problem at all with mandatory drug testing for these services.
6. I have no problem with legal immigrants. I also do not have a problem with offering a path to citizenship via college or the military to those children who were brought here illegally by parents (as children have no abililty to consent). I don't have a problem with a path to legality for non-criminal illegal immigrants (i.e., those who have not broken the law outside of their immigration status). I think the current conservative trent of demonizing immigrants (legal and illegal) is repulsive.
7. I'm not a fan of abortion as a means of birth control, but I fully believe it is the right of the woman to chose. I do not believe any government interference in this is proper. Mandating counseling, ultrasounds, or anything else is just government interference in the doctor-patient relationship. If you don't believe in abortion, don't get one. The only...ONLY...exception I make is for minors...if you are under 18, it's your parent's choice, and if you don't like that, too bad.
8. I believe in progressive taxation. That means as your income goes up, you pay more taxes. I do not believe in refundable tax credits (where you get back more than you pay in). I don't have a problem with the poorest paying $0 taxes, but that's as far as I go. And as far as the current budget battle...cuts and tax hikes both should be on the table. Once again, Republicans are being idiots. Mathematics proves it won't work any other way. The Bush tax cuts for the rich need to roll back, and frankly even when they do taxes in the United States will *still* be at the lowest rates in decades.
9. Morality isn't some gift from a "god". The implication that one cannot be a good, moral, ethical person without that basis being bestowed on them by a mythological "god" is the quickest way to anger me. Your holy book does not give you a monopoly on being "good". More evil is done in the name of religion (the Crusades, the Inquisition, priests molesting kids, jihad, terrorism, racism, bigotry, the Holocaust) than ever has been done in the name of no religion. If you are religious and a good person, bravo! But don't assume you are exclusive in that regard, or that us "godless" people are inherently evil. Close in line with this is questioning my patriotism. I served 16 1/2 years in the United States Navy, have never failed to vote, to stand for the Pledge or the National Anthem, and veterans are to me the true heroes of our nation. I will react to people questioning my patriotism/Americanism very, VERY negatively.
10. If the above nine items are just unacceptable to you, I'd suggest you click "unfriend" on Facebook, stop following me on Twitter, and/or delete the bookmark to my site. Why? Because these are things I do not, and will not, bend on. I'll debate a lot of things...these are not open for it. If that bothers you, don't call me "friend". It's who I am, and it's not likely to change.
For the record, if you need labels...I'm a fiscally conservative-to-moderate, socially very liberal Democrat. If that means you have to make an unthinking assumption based on said label, you'll probably get it wrong. I'd suggest you either a) read what I say or b) ask me, rather than leap to foolish conclusions. If you just want to toss labels and childish names/insults around, don't expect me to listen or lend you much in the way of respect or credence for your opinion. If and when I decide to debate, I will do so with facts whenever possible. If mindless rhetorical spew is your thing, then I will just isgnore you.
There...now that we have that on the record...