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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If you're gonna steal, only steal the best

I have a confession to make. Most of us bloggers steal shamelessly. We read someone's thoughts and ideas on a message board or blog and figure we can improve and expand on them. Viola! We have a blog!

I try not to steal too shamelessly. And when I do, I try to make sure that I give credit to the person whose ideas I'm expanding upon, or at least make sure there a link to the original source material.

But sometimes I find an idea so perfect in its presentation, so forthright in its logic, so succinct and profound and meaningful, that it would be a shame to "borrow" little bits of it to be edited into words I could pass off as my own.

Such a case is a "Faith Matters" column on the pending Federal Marriage Amendment being considered next week in the Senate. The column was written for Scripps Howard News Service by David Waters. In a scant 628 words, Waters manages to sum up all that is wrong and hypocritical about the Federal Marriage Amendment ... something I'd be hard-pressed to do in ten times that many words.

So with kudos to David, here's the entire text of his column (including an e-mail address if anyone feels so inclined as to send him an atta boy):

Marriage is under attack, but not by 'them'

We're pouring hundreds of billions of dollars, not to mention thousands of troops, into the quicksand that is Iraq.

Millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured. Millions more can't afford the health care they need.

Gas prices are hurting every level of government, every business and every individual except the oil barons (in and out of the White House).

The government can't seem to stop spying on us or lying to us.

Our borders are about as secure as a screen door in New Orleans.

Mother Nature is getting hotter and testier with every passing storm.

We've got big problems.

So, naturally, some of our political and religious leaders have something more important on their minds:

Gay marriage.

Must be an election year.

"Today, the institution of marriage is under attack," Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said a few months ago when he promised to haul the Marriage Protection Amendment _ which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman _ out of cold storage and up for a vote in early June.

"The danger this betokens for family life and a general condition of social justice and ordered liberty is hard to overestimate," stated a letter sent last week urging Congress to approve the amendment. It was signed by "the Religious Coalition of America," an impressive list of 50 religious leaders, including Rick Warren, James Dobson, Charles Blake and Eugene Rivers, and all eight U.S. Catholic cardinals.

Frist and the "Coalition" are right about one thing. The institution of marriage is under attack, but not by homosexuals.

By heterosexuals.

The percentage of men and women who get married every year is as low as it has ever been in this country.

More than half of all African-American children are living in single-parent homes. Fifty years ago, that figure was 22 percent.

One in five white children are living in single-parent homes. That figure has tripled in the past 50 years.

One in three children in America are born to unwed mothers!

I'm not a fan of exclamation points, but the previous sentence should shock us all.

As any judge, police officer, teacher or president can tell you, children born out of wedlock are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of school, commit crimes, go to jail and father (or mother) children out of wedlock.

"The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring _ honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," President Bush said.

"Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society."

Bush said that in 2004, the last time politicians used the Marriage Protection Amendment as an election-year distraction.

No doubt the president and the Senate majority leader _ not to mention the 50 black and white ministers who signed the letter "in defense of marriage" _ are seriously concerned about gay marriage.

But if they're serious about protecting the institution of marriage, they should start by figuring out a way to stop straight people from having children out of wedlock.

Require men to marry the mother of their children and to be responsible for their care, or send them to jail.

Require women to marry the father of their children, or take their children and their welfare benefits away from them.

Require all men and women to undergo premarital counseling and parenting training before they can get a marriage license.

Stop obsessing about the specks in the eyes of gay people who want to get married.

First deal with the planks in the eyes of child-bearing straight people who don't.

(Contact columnist David Waters at or by mail at The Commercial Appeal, P.O. Box 334, Memphis, TN 38101.)

OK ... so feeling inspired? Good! Here's what you need to do. Click on this link to the Human Rights Campaign's on-line petition about the Federal Marriage Amendment and let your lawmakers know how you feel.