Ok, maybe just a little bit of common ground here:
A. I don’t think it is unreasonable to at least allow for the option of teaching of Intelligent Design in schools. Further, punishing children who want to share their ideas or belief system seems a bit intolerant to me. One of my neighbor’s children was suspended for even suggested God existed and there might be an alternative to evolution. The suspension was for 3 days. Please tell me, do you think that is fair?
It is totally unreasonable to teach intelligent design in school science classes because it is not science. We should not teach alchemy or astrology either. If you want to put it in a philosophy or comparative religion class then maybe there is room for that.
I do not think a kid should be suspended for expressing their belief or for suggesting an alternative to evolution (though insisting on it and not learning the theory of evolution would be grounds for failing a science class just as refusing to read the bible and the koran would be grounds for failing a comparative religion class). But I strongly suspect there is more to the story here. Suggesting god exists should not result in suspension but preaching probably should not be allowed.
B. Birth control is one thing. Abortions performed on innocent babies is another. Teen pregnancies are in issue in America. The issue with those who support abortions (and even certain forms of birth control) is this line of thinking clearly promotes consequence-free sex. I mean how does one justify the killings of millions of innocents with the idea “so I do not feel I can support a child (or it’s not convenient) and therefore I’m going to end it’s life.”
This is a huge can of worms and truly goes way beyond religion. In fact, I think we might be able to make more progress if we approach it as a social issue rather than demonizing everyone involved. You might be surprised to know that Barry Goldwater, the father of American conservatism, was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood. His daughter is still on the board here in Arizona after succeeding Barry's wife.
I certainly do not favor abortion but I do believe it should be an option for a woman if that is what she chooses and it should be safe and legal. Remember, abortion bans do not prevent abortion. They just make it riskier and result in the deaths of some women. You can look back in history in this country for evidence of that or you can look at other countries in the present day. Women die as a result of not having access to safe abortions.
Perhaps better distribution and access to birth control would help. Birth control is cheap. As I've said in the past, I do not believe churches that oppose BC should be forced to pay for it although I do think that religious universities should when religion is not a requirement for employment. Actually, I don't think birth control (or viagra for that matter) should be covered by insurance in the first place. C.
I honestly believe that the fight of same-sex marriage is two separate issues. The first is the actual institution of marriage from a religious standpoint. The second is the term “marriage” as a legal, binding contract registered by the government for the purpose of certain rights.
I wouldn't want to tell your church that they have to recognize same sex marriage or perform those ceremonies.
But you seem to want to deny gays the recognition of their commitment and the civil legal rights that go along with marriage. Perhaps we should ban marriage entirely and only allow recognition of civil unions. And with all the religious baggage gone, we don;t need to restrict it to just two people. We could have three-way marriages (it happened in Brazil recently) of people could marry their pets. What's wrong with that?
I can agree with most of the rest of what you wrote about that issue. But I don't see why we need separate terms. That's just asking for discrimination. We need a Federal law, no, a constitutional amendment, banning marriage at the state level and establishing a system of civil registration to replace it. We can have a new cabinet level position, the Secretary of Civil Unions, to oversee it all. Churches would be banned from performing civil union ceremonies but would have no interference as far as marrying people. Children could marry, adults could marry children, polygamy would be legal, etc. After all, we don't want to infringe on religious freedom.
Actually, that last paragraph was only partly facetious. Why not just simplify everything and let anyone who wants to marry do so? Let churches do as they wish as well. Why do you want to tell people what term they can use to refer to their commitment?