Live and Let Live | Ott Observations


A conservative friend who reads my columns recently asked me what I thought about transgenders, specifically about athletes.  

He knows I have a stepdaughter who once played college volleyball. I told him I thought sports organizations, be it U.S. Junior Volleyball, AAU, NCAA or various state athletic associations, were perfectly capable of defining the standards of competition in their sports. 

What we didn’t need was grandstanding politicians sticking their uninformed noses into the situation.

Today I read a news story about two hospitals receiving threats of violence because they offer transgender surgery services. Included in the threats are erroneous assumptions about what services are available to children. 

How is any of this anybody’s business except the person struggling with their gender identity and their immediate family? Who appointed other people to be the guidance counselors or judges for these people?

For over 50 years now, people have been wailing and gnashing their teeth over the sanctity of marriage – meaning they oppose homosexual marriage.  In a country of religious freedom, our various faiths have the right to decide who can receive the sacrament of marriage. 

But there is no basis in our Constitution to deny anyone a civil marriage and all the legal protections that go with it.  Even worse, we still fight battles over denying employment or housing to homosexuals – as if their sexual interests have anything to do with doing a job well or taking care of a home.

Thanks to self-appointed morality police, we are going through another wave of book banning. 

News flash one: The Nazis burned books.  

News flash two: Your children can instantly find things on their phones 100 times more shocking than what they can find in their library. 

Meanwhile, most of us who think personal growth and intelligence comes from access to uncensored literature with diverse perspectives are supposed to let you decide what we can read or see?

The do-gooders are very busy with a lot of issues these days. They don’t want our schools to teach human biology or counselors to help provide access to contraception, and they also don’t want anyone getting an abortion. They’re concerned about Critical Race Theory, which they don’t understand and can’t define. So, they’re trying to whitewash American racial history teaching in our schools – which has nothing to do with Critical Race Theory.  They think it’s OK to chill at home by getting drunk, but don’t consume a pot gummy.

Much of our culture wars stem from the so-called “religious right,” who feel called to use government to force everyone to live by their standards. 

I came to my faith late in life. One of my favorite Bible stories is about an adulteress who is about to be stoned to death. Jesus is challenged by the law enforcers of that time to see if he supports the law. His response is that those without sin should cast the first stones. Everyone leaves and Jesus then tells the woman to stop her adultery. 

It seems pretty clear to me that it is not our place to judge others and their behaviors in their private life.  Only God gets to judge.  Mind your own business and if you are without sin, then you can help God judge.

As we approach the mid-term election this fall, we will be increasingly deluged with political ads. Many are going to take culture war topics-of-the-month and declare they will be our moral champions. Never mind that Americans should be free to make their own decisions regarding all these topics without government interference.  

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is famous for declaring he couldn’t define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. This is why government shouldn’t be making laws about what we read, our sexual behaviors or reproductive health decisions. It’s impossible to anticipate the complex variety of situations and define when such laws should apply or not.  

This comes full circle back to letting people live their own lives, as they are the only ones intimately informed about their decisions and choices.   

Listen instead for what candidates have to say about issues of real national importance. As our representative, what specifically would they do to build and maintain a strong economy that provides a good paying job to anyone who wants to work? How, specifically, would they provide the human rights of food, housing and healthcare to all – including the aged and those a capitalistic economy leaves behind? How would they provide an education to anyone who wants it?  What steps would they take to ensure a safe and livable climate for our children and grandchildren? How do they propose to ensure our national defense, and what moral leadership based on the principles of democracy do they propose we provide a globalized world?

Let’s live and let live, which is the essence of freedom. And let’s try and keep our government laser-focused on the common good issues of all our countryman as well as freedom-loving people throughout the world.

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