vrijdag, februari 11, 2005

Education, poverty, arms, evolution and marriage.

On my way to look up something else (keep reading) I learned that the US spends more on cosmetics (8 billion) than the WORLD spends on education (6 billion).

I researched this because Ian and a friend at work were talking yesterday about how much the US spent on the military. Ian thought it was in the hundreds of millions, and commented on the problems that money could solve if it were spent differently. I told him I thought hundreds of millions was way low.

It turns out the U.S. military budget request for Fiscal Year 2005 is actually $420.7 billion.

I was still thinking about education, though, and specifically about how little we spend on education, which I strongly believe holds our only hope for long term survival as a species. In Kansas (my home state), education is so underfunded that there is a real crisis; so great that the Kansas Supreme Court has given Kansas legislators an April 12, 2005 deadline to fix the school finance law because they failed to fulfill their Constitutional obligation to adequately fund Kansas schools.

Aside from not having enough, it's interesting how the money on education is being spent. We all know that there are lots of different religions out there. And we know that a minority of these many religions claim that theirs is the RIGHT one. Amongst these various religions, there are differing beliefs about the origin of life.

Although there is divergence amongst these beliefs, Kansas has decided to revisit evolution in the classroom this year, and, given the make up of the school board, it appears Kansas will most likely spend its (far too little) money to draft, insert and distribute textbooks with their new "faith based" messages concerning evolution and creationism. This issue is apparently more important than the fact that there is not enough money in the budget to teach children the current curriculum.

Apparently recognizing this reality, Kansas schools have begun to mull cuts. That foresight showed the school's keen understanding of the current Kansas legislature. On Sunday January 30th, the Wichita Eagle reported that “Key Republican lawmakers involved in school funding discussions predict they will miss the Kansas Supreme Court's April 12 deadline to fix all the problems the court identified in the current law.”

What was more pressing to the legislators than obeying their Constitutional charge to fund schools? An economic disaster? A natural disaster? A terrorist attack?

No.

It was this: Introducing a Constitutional Amendment to prevent specific persons from marrying. (yes, yes. Technically it was already against the law for people of the same gender to marry in Kansas - but the legislators were frightened that the Constitution just might have been interpreted to mean that lesbians and gays had rights that were equal to heterosexuals - and if this happened, the legislators apparently thought this would make their own marriages mean less. Somehow.)

It's acknowledged that the political agenda of the US, and particularly the Bible-belt - those states such as Kansas that are in the center of the country - is increasingly driven by the beliefs of conservative Christians. If that is true, here is my question: Assuming the legislative leaders in charge of the agenda really are, as they say, following the word of God, can anyone please explain to me what any of the actions above have to do with the following commandments from their highest, primary authority on religion?

Matthew 22:35:
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 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.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

2 Comments:

Blogger LB said...

Your final question is a good one, and one which I haven't heard anyone answer. Also, how does the marriage of two loving and committed same-sex partners threaten my heterosexual marriage? I haven't heard anyone answer that. Society can only benefit from loving people uniting, the way I see it. We hets sure have screwed the marriage/family/relationship thing up anyway.

4:36 a.m.  
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11:42 p.m.  

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