Spanning the State: Be good to each other, Edition

Carla Axtman

Last week, the states of New Mexico and Utah got marriage equality. In Oregon, we're still working on it. But it'll quite likely be on our ballot in 2014. It's pretty embarrassing that we're so far behind, but I'm hopeful we'll get there.

That said, I agree with Tyler Smith, a youth pastor from Mississippi (I know...Mississippi. I had that reaction, too): What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn't Matter.

To wit:

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you think homosexuality is a sin. Let me say that again. It does not matter if you think homosexuality is a sin, or if you think it is simply another expression of human love. It doesn’t matter. Why doesn’t it matter? Because people are dying. Kids are literally killing themselves because they are so tired of being rejected and dehumanized that they feel their only option left is to end their life. As a Youth Pastor, this makes me physically ill. And as a human, it should make you feel the same way. So, I’m through with the debate.

When faced with the choice between being theologically correct…as if this is even possible…and being morally responsible, I’ll go with morally responsible every time. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian during World War II. He firmly held the theological position of nonviolence. He believed that complete pacifism was theologically correct. And yet, in the midst of the war, he conspired to assassinate Adolf Hitler; to kill a fellow man. Why? Because in light of what he saw happening to the Jews around him by the Nazis, he felt that it would be morally irresponsible not to. Between the assassination of Hitler and nonviolence, he felt the greater sin would be nonviolence.

We are past the time for debate. We no longer have the luxury to consider the original meaning of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. We are now faced with the reality that there are lives at stake. So whatever you believe about homosexuality, keep it to yourself. Instead, try telling a gay kid that you love him and you don’t want him to die. Try inviting her into your church and into your home and into your life. Anything other than that simply doesn’t matter.

Preach it, my brother.

And now, let's Span the State!

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Rep. John Davis (R-Wilsonville) has decided to try and shove through a highly contentious and toxic land use bill during the upcoming February legislative session. Davis' bill would clear the way for nearly 2000 acres of development in Washington County. In a county that's already knee deep and beholden to developers and economic interests at the expense of ordinary citizens and farmers, Davis' bill is a potential disaster. And a land-use powder keg.

University of Oregon professor and polymer scientist Richard Chartoff is answering the call from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation: create a condom that men want to wear. The Gates Foundation chose Chartoff's body-heat-shrink-to-fit condom proposal as one of 11 that were granted $100,000 each to develop a new type of condom. The goal of the Gates' project is to prevent the spread of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The New York Times has a fascinating map indicating the largest concentrations of Americans without health insurance. Uninsured Oregonians appear to be concentrated more in Wasco, Jefferson and Malheur Counties. The counties with the most insured by percentage of residents were Polk and Benton.

A couple in Terrebonne have put their 10 acre parcel adjacent to Smith Rock State Park up for sale. The land, which sits just 130 feet from the park entrance, is on the market for $750,000. Smith Rock is a key destination spot in Central Oregon, especially for rock climbers. Development around the park is highly restricted and use permits are generally only granted for things that are consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

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