Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday Postcard Art: Houses

Ahhh, another art challenge. This week's Sunday Postcard Art topic was Houses. Here you see my fantasy cottage, with the door open to welcome you home.

I pulled out my Prismacolor watercolor pencils for this little offering.Enjoy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Illustration Friday - Caged ... or Not?

I decided to whip up a little something for this week's Illustration Friday theme: Caged.

A reminder to use our gifts, one and all!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Crusade No. 43

After a wonderful week-long program in Book Arts at Stone Coast Writing Center (Wolfe Neck, Maine) I am diving in with both hands to make art. After a visit to Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team I was inspired to share in Crusade No. 43, "Text Messaging." It's been a long time since I got glue and ink on my fingers -- too long. What fun I had last night clipping and arranging and pasting down text! Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the team put together.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Time Has Come for Equality for All People

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” With these noble and elegant words from our Declaration of Independence, the United States of America embarked on a revolutionary mission – creating a nation where all people are treated as equals.
Sadly, our nation has taken a long time to live up to the promise of equality.  In 1868 – almost 100 years after the founding of our country – the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was passed. It declared “no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person…equal protection of the laws.” American Blacks have struggled long and hard to make that Amendment, the promise of equality, a reality. Women have struggled long and hard for their rights as equal citizens. Now, American citizens who differ from you only on the basis of their sexual orientation are asking for the same equality.
Legalizing same-sex marriage would be a recognition of basic American principles, set forth in our founding documents. It would represent the culmination of our nation’s commitment to equal rights.
Our highest court, the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution. It has described the right to marriage as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men;” a “basic civil right;” an expression of emotional support and public commitment.
The Supreme Court has further said that marriage is a part of the Constitution’s protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. Without the right to marry, there can be no true equality under the law.
        It is true that marriage in this nation has traditionally been regarded as a relationship exclusively between a man and a woman. However, the underlying rights and liberties that marriage embodies are not in any way confined to heterosexuals.
        The reason most frequently given for denying the right of marriage to same-sex couples is tradition. But simply because something has always been done in a certain way does not mean it must remain that way – otherwise we would still have segregated schools and women defined as the property of their husbands. Tradition hardly seems a rational justification for withholding the status of marriage and continuing to label same-sex relationships as unworthy or less legitimate.
        The second argument heard against same-sex marriage is that traditional marriage between a man and a woman furthers the state’s interest in procreation – somehow opening marriage to same-sex couples would diminish that goal. If same-sex couples are allowed to marry, it would have no impact on the number of heterosexual couples who marry and have children. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
We do not ask of heterosexual couples if they intend to have children. We allow marriage by the elderly, by prison inmates, by people who have no intention to bear children. Procreation is not a valid argument.
        Another argument, even less convincing, is that allowing same-sex couples to marry will somehow devalue heterosexual marriages. Again, there is no logical reasoning that supports this notion.
        I understand, but reject, certain religious teachings that denounce homosexuality as morally wrong or unnatural. I also reject the argument by certain religions that marriage must be restricted to the union between a man and a woman because the scriptures say so. There are many Biblical verses that are ignored by even the most fundamental of Christians – such as the injunction against men cutting their hair and the duty of men to regularly beat their wives and children.
The bias against homosexuality is a cultural creation. If one is born heterosexual, it is not unusual to perceive those who are born homosexual as threatening. That which is different and unfamiliar is often rejected – too often leading to prejudice, hostility, and discrimination.
That fact is that homosexual men and women fill your world, often without your awareness. Most of us do not wear Queer buttons on our clothing declaring our sexual orientation. Yet, we are your classmates, your teachers, your doctors, and your bankers. Our lives intersect yours in countless ways.
The antidote to prejudice, fear and discrimination is understanding. We once tolerated laws throughout this nation that prohibited marriage between persons of different races. These laws were deemed unconstitutional. I believe that in the not too distant future, the laws prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples will also be deemed unconstitutional.
There is no rational justification for this unique pattern of discrimination. It advances no legitimate state interest.  All it does is label gay and lesbian persons as different, inferior, and unequal.  It brands our relationships as not the same, and less-approved than those enjoyed by opposite sex couples.  As gays and lesbians, we are stigmatized by discrimination and caused needless pain, isolation and humiliation.
Today, in America, gay men and lesbians are kept from the institution of marriage even though the characteristic for which we are targeted—our sexual orientation—like race, gender, and ethnicity, is a fundamental aspect of our identity that we did not choose for ourselves.
To be discriminated against based on one’s inborn sexual orientation is wrong. To be denied marriage, this most basic of our constitutional freedoms is wrong. Blocking the right of individuals to marry a same-sex partner relegates us to “second class” citizenship, and tells us, our families and our neighbors that our love and desire for a sanctioned marital partnership is not worthy of recognition.
The time has come for Americans to redress these wrongs. Only when all people – gay and straight – have the right to choose their life partners will this country be able to proudly declare “We are a nation that values equality.” Only when “every mountain and hill of discrimination is made low, and the crooked is made straight and the rough places plain” will we be able to declare “America lives up to its promise of equality for all people.”
As American citizens, we must question the fairness and justice of our policy of discrimination. One day we must come to see that our brothers and sisters are all children of the one God, loved just as they are, for who they are. A nation that denies same-sex marriage while at the same time declaring equality for all is disjointed by its rhetoric and poisoned by its hatred.
Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, who believe in the words of the 14th Amendment, who believe in the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. With a powerful commitment to end discrimination, we shall boldly challenge the status quo with its unjust mores and speed the day when we stand up proudly to embrace this issue….guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to join together in a loving commitment that supports and nourishes the values our country is founded on.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Science and Religion

I am finishing up my senior thesis paper on Science and Religion, having learned much through the research and process of putting my thoughts down on paper. Everything is done but the conclusion. What can we conclude about the intersection of science and religion in the 21st century. Is there a place for traditional religions? How might they change - if they, in fact, have the courage to be flexible?

Robert Wright points out that historical religions are in trouble today because they were constructed during the time when agrarian and pastoral cultures reigned the landscape. The ethic, "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you," is found in virtually every religion in one form or another. Is this enough?

I would promote the idea that we must acknowledge, deep within ourselves that the "other" is "us." We are integrally connected. What I do has repercussions for the rest of humanity and, ultimately, the cosmos. I am going to practice looking into people's eyes and smiling when I pass them. My step to letting folks know they are not alone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung and the daffodils are nodding their sweet yellow heads. The window is open to the crickets and tree frogs calling into the soft night air. Ahh, and all we have to do is live. Live this night. Live this day. Gently, joyfully, dare I say "exuberantly"!

For too long we've all carried around our backpacks filled with yesterday's news - its sorrows and fears, and all the other limitations that we have used to define ourselves. What if we let it all go? What if we just took a very deep breath, exhaled and declared right here and now "I am that I am."

Can you do it? Do you dare?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Last of the Eyak - Annie's Lament

Annie was the last living member of the Eyak, a people who lived in Northwestern Alaska before the influx of American salmon canneries. Her people were displaced and died from exposure to western diseases. Old and frail, Annie walks along on the beach at low tide, wailing the tragic fate of her people.

My poor aunt - I couldn't believe you were going to die.
How would I hear you?
I wish this - to go back to you there.
You are no more.
I just break out in tears and lament.

All along here I'll go around
Life Ravens I'll live along.
My aunts are dying off on me and
along I'll be living.

[In Honor of Eyak: The Art of Anna Nelson Harry. Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska: 1982]