March 24, 2009
I know I am going to piss some people off with this week’s BITMA but, in the words of Vonnegut, “So it goes.”
Below is the full text of an email that I and many others received on March 19, 2009 under the label: “an appeal for you (sic) consideration.” Attached to that email were two documents: HB 5 and HB 10 from proposals in the House of Representatives in Delaware. In the email it also was noted that Reverend Birowski had been contacted for permission to share her thoughts. The email did not say that Birowski had agreed to share only that she had been asked. I have altered the email only by reducing spacing and by clipping addresses and phone numbers; otherwise it appears here as I received it. The synopsis of HB 5 and HB 10 follow, respectively:
This Act adds the term “sexual orientation” to the already-existing list of prohibited practices of discrimination. As such, this Act would forbid discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations, and insurance. In addition, this Act would establish that the Superior Court, in the first instance, would hear and adjudicate alleged criminal violations under the Act of equal accommodations, fair housing and employment discrimination.
This Bill will make the same-sex partner of a State of Delaware regular officer, employee or eligible pensioner entitled to the same benefits that are provided to spouses of state employees and pensioners. Employees of Labor Unions and Delaware Authorities and Commissions covered under the sections of the Code are also included.
Email begins next
I would like to introduce myself; my name is Rev. Kimberly Birowski. I have been a Delaware resident most of my life. My husband, Rev. Thomas Birowski and I serve Harvest Christian Church of Seaford, Delaware. We were married in Delaware 24 years ago. I am also the President of a state wide coalition of Christian Churches of all denominations called Delaware Prayer Alliance.
I am writing to ask you to support the Marriage Protection Amendment in Delaware. It is an amendment to the Delaware Constitution that would protect one of our most sacred institutions, marriage as ordained by God. Delaware must join the other 30 states that have passed Marriage Protection Amendments in order to secure our children’s future in Delaware. This will be a 2 year battle as an Amendment must pass both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate, by a 2/3 majority for 2 consecutive terms.
As you know, the radical fringe in our society who would like to redefine the act of marriage as “Any person who feels love for another person can get married to that person.” This is a destructive broadening of the definition of Marriage designed to push abnormal, behavioral choices by fringe special interest groups into the norm. Marriage is not a civil right, and Protecting Marriage is not an “Anti-Gay” issue. Adults in our society are not guaranteed the “civil right” under the United States Constitution to marry whomever they choose. For example, marrying multiple partners, family members or minors is illegal; as it should be. The definition of Marriage needs to be protected no matter who wants to change it! Strong and healthy marriages are the foundation of a strong and healthy society. No wonder this most sacred and primary building block of our society has come under attack so severely!!
I am attaching copies of dangerous legislation (House Bill 5 & House Bill 10) that are designed to legislate that a person’s sexual preferences are a civil right with the same status as African American civil rights and Female civil rights. As you are no doubt aware, a person does not have the option to choose if they are born African American or female for that matter. However, sexual preferences are a choice, human sexuality is an appetite like any other bodily appetite which can be altered and changed if a person so desires. If “Sexual Preferences” are legally given the same civil rights status as Race and Gender what is to stop pedophiles or rapists from claiming their “rights”?
Furthermore, the supporters of this dangerous legislation claim it is not going to effect marriage as defined by one man and one woman or religious freedom; they claim there already exist laws in the books for the purpose of protecting marriage. However in states that have already passed this same legislation, that is exactly what has happened, marriage and religious freedom have been adversely affected. Supporters such as Representative Peter Schwartzkopf, who recently spoke on WGMD 92.7 FM, in support of HB No. 5, state that these bills are merely to protect Homosexual and Bisexual individuals from discrimination and abuse. However, neither of these destructive bills even mentions the most vicious form of discrimination and abuse to homosexual or bisexual individuals which comes from the gay community itself!!
A large percentage of the gay community is very tight-knit and militant. I have had the privileged of knowing a number of individuals personally who have successfully changed their sexual preference from homosexual to heterosexual. I consider these individuals to be some of the bravest people that I know. They faced, loss of jobs, slander, loss of housing, as well as in some cases violence and abuse of the most disgusting kind; all at the hands of those who claimed to “Love them” while they were gay. As soon as theydidn’t want to “Stay Gay” they were treated worse than they had ever been treated in their lives. If HB No. 5 & 10 were really simply to protect from discrimination as claimed, then individuals who want to change their preferences would be listed as well! The fact alone, that these individual’s situation is completely absent from the bills, is enough to prove that the supporters of HB 5 & 10 are not approaching the issues from a comprehensive stand point, but are merely caving to special interest pressure, and maybe some greed.
I respectfully submit that Representative Schwartzkopf, Senator Sokola, Representative Schooley and Senator Henry refrain from taking the “Lazy Approach” of simply “Sandwiching-In” the words “Sexual Orientation” into existing legislation that was written to address completely different issues in our society. There are thousands of African Americans and women who are deeply offended by this lazy and ignorant approach to legislation. I am one of them. I charge these elected leaders to stop making excuses for their ignorance and really do their homework on these issues. I listened to the radio broadcast where I heard the words; “I don’t know about that”; “I’m not familiar with that law”; “I haven’t heard about that Law suit”; and my favorite “I don’t have the time or money to look into these issues”; come out of the mouth of Rep. Schwartzkopf. With all due respect Rep. Schwartzkopf, these difficult issues must be handled by someone who does know the ramifications and who makes the time, as well as being willing to pay the price, to find out!
I propose that HB No. 5 and HB No. 10 get Filed in File # 13 and we start over writing legislation to protect Homosexual and Bisexual individuals from an informed, Biblical and comprehensive approach. I also ask you for your prayerful support of the Marriage Protection Amendment. Wisdom demands that protecting Marriage, through an amendment to the Delaware Constitution, as one man and one woman must be our first step in sorting out and logically dealing with these difficult issues.
Pastor Kim Birowski
I will control my urge to pontificate on her misuse of language and note merely that I would hope my pastor would have a better command of the basics of the language. To move on to more substantive matters, if Birkowski held these ideas in her church, as she has every right to, I could care less. If I were a parishioner, I would leave the flock, get the flock out, and take my kids with me. Unfortunately, she has chosen to foist her religion on the state by encouraging an amendment concerning the definition of marriage and further to encourage senators to move against adjusting present laws to prevent discrimination because of sexual orientation. I would defend her right to her options and her right to publish them until she packages those ideas as a religious intervention into the law-making in Delaware.
First, she may not make an appeal for a proposed amendment based on the assumption of God. There are other platforms from which she could argue concerning a definition of marriage that I might support but not from a religious one. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” is the first part of the First Amendment which prohibits government from helping or hurting religion. Reverend Birkowski by law of the land may not invoke law makers to legislate based on a religious principle nor may legislators decide on law based on religious beliefs. Nor may the reverend seek a protection of a sacred institution because most accepted definitions for sacred deals with deities, religions and worship, the First Amendment tripping her once again. Furthermore, I cannot fathom how a marriage amendment will make children more secure; there are way too many insecure children who are the byproducts of marriages.
If Birkowski wants to legally define by Biblical standards, she may not because of the First Amendment. Also, I do not know if marriage is a civil right. I suspect it is because I cannot see anyone being denied marriage unless it would be criminal to do so. However, the Constitution, a most brief document considering its immense impact, provides a clue:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Preamble sets one of the purposes of the Constitution as securing liberty. Definitions for the contextual use here of liberty include: right to choose, freedom, and basic right. Additionally, I think most would agree that the sense of freedom or liberty carries with it an implied responsibility to do no damage. Being a “radical-fringer”, I personally see nothing wrong with multiple marriages by consenting adults, but I can clearly see that she tries to equate the illegal acts of incest and marrying a minor to same-sex-marriage. Problem is the two are illegal and homosexuality is not. I also see no proof in history that a protection of a definition has stabilized society nor can I understand her conclusion here that some sacred and primary building block has been placed under severe attack. I think more reasonable people have defended marriage rather than attacked it. She then gets into some absolutely ridiculous logic in trying to persuade how the two house bills will establish some rights or another. Neither of the synopsis suggest this (nor do the texts in my reading). And she steps firmly on a slippery slope, a propagandist’s ploy always, by suggesting that rapists and pedophiles will gain some civil liberties or another. Of course rape and pedophilia are crimes; would she have us believe homosexuals are rapists and pedophiles or that simply homosexuals are criminals?
I haven’t a clue about the politics or militancy of the gay community, but I know her next statement about the exclusion of homosexuals who changed their preference from the house bills is complete utter, nonsense. The house bill protects all people from discrimination for reason of sexual preference. The very fact that you don’t get this to me means your hate is clouding not only your judgment but also your reading ability. For goodness sake, if Birkowski is going to criticize an issue she should at least read it well enough to understand it (of course if she is running for political office her omission of good sense here may well serve as a recommendation there).
I have worked diligently on this blog, for the rightful expression. I claim no understanding of the homosexual preference and will quickly admit that some of those preferences and methods of expression of love are completely alien to me. I will also admit that I do not want to understand them; they are so repulsive to my sexual tastes that I could not abide with them. However, what a person chooses to do privately in the name of love as long as it does not damage me, I cannot vilify. I can abide neither with discriminators nor with the religious who insist that theirs is the only way. Reverend Birkowski claims an understanding of the Constitution yet wants not to follow the First Amendment and should know that she can’t have protection and promotion at the same time.
But there is something more sordid with Birkowski’s letter. I also find it particularly offensive that a Christian minister has such little love for her fellow humans.
I can’t pretend a Christian model and openly admit to a sin-filled life, I am weaker than I ever want to be. And while I usually protest the Christian people’s propensity for selective versification, using verses that suit only their purpose, I close my argument with the following:
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13)
For her misuse of the Constitution and for her “narrow” Christianity, I present my Brick in the Mouth Award to Reverend Kim Birkowski.