Bett Norris


Category Archives: Supreme Court

Let Freedom Ring, Let the White Dove Sing




Independence Day

Women should take charge. Men have run this country, the government, the economy, the workforce, the court system, for over 200 years. Women can’t possibly do worse that they have done, making a nomination to the Supreme Court into a farce; allowing a person like Trump to rule by temper tantrum and greed; abdicating responsibility for the status of society where people scream at each other instead of listen; where compromise and cooperation are dirty words. Men have run this country where women did not get the vote until 1918; where Japanese Americans served honorably in WWII while their families were locked in internment camps and their property confiscated, where native Americans were systematically stripped of their land, their culture, their languages, and their dignity. A country governed by men did not allow African Americans equal citizenship until the 1960’s, and still today tries to suppress the right to vote. I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsberg when asked how many women should be on the Supreme Court, and she said nine. Men control a country where 27 years ago, a witness before a Senate Judicial committee was humiliated and denigrated, and where today, that same committee, with some of the same Senators, worked to push through a nomination without giving a female witness even the pretense of investigation, without calling for corroborating testimony, refusing to release more than 90% of the papers of the nominee. So, yeah, why not let women run things for a while. Do you really think they would allow the country to reach this state of incivility and division? Do you think women would allow this country to be the only one, in the entire world, to pull out of the Paris Accords? Do you think women would allow mining and drilling on national preserves? Would women allow hunting of endangered species? Would women allow, for even one minute, guns to be purchased by mentally ill, or violent people? Would women call for universal background checks for anyone who wants to own a gun? Would we want military assault weapons in the hands of citizens? Would women restrict free speech? Would women act on universal healthcare? For a fairer tax code? Women would get a balanced budget passed. They would insist on a woman’s right to decide about their own health. If all women everywhere voted, women could attain a majority in state houses, in Congress, on the courts. Women would get rid of the ridiculous Citizens United fiasco. Women could, and should, restrict all political donations from individuals, from corporations and PAC’s, to a miniscule amount. Women could, and should, raise the minimum wage. Women make up the majority in this country. What’s the worst that could happen if they had control of the reins of power for a while? Do you believe that women would separate families from their children at the border? Do you think women would insult NATO allies, start trade wars with Canada?


What the Flag Means to Me

I Corinthians ch 13

Everyone has been celebrating for almost a week now. The Supreme Court decided to include LGBT people in the legal protections under the law as granted by the Fourteenth Amendment. People have changed their Facebook profiles into rainbow shades. This past weekend there was a huge celebration at the Gay Pride events all over the country. It has been especially gratifying to see so many straight people who joined in the celebration. Thank you all.

A woman climbed the flagpole and took down the Confederate flag on the state grounds in South Carolina. Then she was arrested. About a gazillion people offered to post her bail.

The families of the victims spoke at the white supremacist-terrorist’s court appearance and forgave him for his hate and ignorance. President Obama delivered a powerful, beautiful eulogy urging everyone to act as if they are graced by God. Then he sang a hymn about grace written by a slave trader who got converted. By grace we are led. By grace we are saved. By grace we are better, stronger, more loving, more forgiving. Through grace we come together. That white supremacist was welcomed into the Bible study group at the historic AME church, he was included in prayer, and then hate and ignorance of the grace of God made him stand up and start killing people who had just prayed for his soul.  The families forgave him.

Then several black churches were burned to the ground.

One step forward, two steps back.

The Supreme Court upheld the right of LGBT couples to marry. Then the state of Alabama refused to issue marriage licenses. Then a federal judge ordered the county probate judges to stop acting silly and comply with the SCOTUS decision.

Then there’s this. Gods definition

It was posted on Facebook by someone close to me. Huh.

Herewith, my response:

I saw your post about God’s definition of marriage. I am sorry you feel that way. As a Christian, as a gay woman, I can’t agree. Man’s law and God’s law are separate.  I can’t allow myself to read the Bible selectively. I have to read it as a whole. Christ said, Love one another. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. I have to give that just as much weight as the passages against divorce, slavery, and stonings. If civilization has surpassed some passages, then I have to believe it can surpass others. I cling stubbornly to the words of Christ, and believe that God is inclusive of all of us. Even Paul said “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” He also said, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13. 
Chapters 12 and 13 are some of my favorite passages in the Bible. Verse 8: “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
I don’t mean to preach,  but I do love quoting the Bible, certainly the most powerful book ever written, God-breathed, God-inspired, and also one of the most beautiful. 
I know you love me. I know you do not judge. I am so happy that the Supreme Court decided to include me in the protection guaranteed to every citizen in the Fourteenth Amendment. Section One says: 
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Specifically, the justices said that gay people cannot be denied the equal protection of legal marriage.
They said nothing about weddings, which are and will always be, a function of religion. 
Marriage is a legal institution granted by the government. You go to the courthouse to get a marriage license, which is a legal document. It has nothing to do with a person’s faith or beliefs. There are over 1100 different laws, privileges, and benefits that are acquired through marriage, not least of which are tax rules which benefit married couples, Social Security benefits, the right of a spouse to make life and death medical decisions, legalities pertaining to the privileges and rights of parents to raise their children.
We agree on this: I support God’s law over man’s law, but I live in this world, and it means a lot to me to be recognized as a full citizen with the rights of all others. This year I will raise my American flag with more joy, honor, and celebration than ever, knowing that the Supreme Court says that I am a full citizen, with equal protection under the law.
Amen to that.

But there was also this. Rainbow White House


So, this weekend I will be flying my American flag, not the rainbow flag, because the Supreme Court just validated me as a full citizen with access to equal protection under the law granted to every other citizen. This weekend, I fly the red, white, and blue, with more pride, honor, and celebration that ever. It’s nice to be included.

US flag

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” 

Thus endeth the lesson. And the people said.

Ya’ll stay safe and have fun.

%d bloggers like this: