What is fair? MUST things be balanced?

The term "fair" can mean many things to many people. In baseball, a ball struck by a bat is foul or fair. A fair raffle would be based on drawing tickets completely at random. Both of these examples are measurable and certifiable.

On the other hand, the definition of a fair day will vary based upon personal experience. In the game of golf, less talented players are given a handicap to make the game fair. In public education, there is a movement to "level the playing field" in order to foster a fair society. In these examples, fairness is subjective.

Children will claim, "That's not fair!" when given directives by an adult. Often, this is because they are not aware of the broader knowledge base from which the adult is operating.

So, what does it mean when the news media claims to be fair? To me, "fair" in this context should mean "based in truth, with a commitment to pursue truth beyond the limits of political correctness and popular ratings".

"Balanced." Hmm... I think of Lady Justice holding her scale. I think of me sitting on one end of a teeter-totter in kindergarten, facing a friend at the opposite end. By dangling our legs carefully forward or back we were able to maintain the board parallel to the ground. Sometimes I would face two friends or more. If I leaned backward, and they sat closer to the center, or fulcrum, we could achieve balance.

I do NOT think of the Fairness Doctrine, which insists that every point of view should get equal exposure - hence, balancing the coverage.

I do NOT think that thirty or sixty minutes of network news should be bundled so that we have neatly distributed, predictable coverage that balances the time available and still leaves time for commercials. (How is it possible that the major rival networks cover nearly the same stories in nearly the same order day after day?)

In nature and in world events, balance is a dynamic principle, involving random and disproportionate as well as repeating events that perpetuate the existence of our planet and its inhabitants. I don't think that balancing coverage of events is a desirable characteristic of journalism. To attempt to make it so is to arbitrarily move the events closer to, or further away from the fulcrum; an even more contemptible practice is to leave them off the teeter-totter entirely, in order to project the illusion of having balanced coverage.

I think that true principles should get more coverage than false ones. I think that the good guys should get more exposure than the bad guys. (I think obscurity is what criminals deserve, except when public safety is an issue.) I think the different networks should develop original and unique formats for collection and dissemination of news, so that we can vary our viewing and try to more fairly put things in balance for ourselves.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Didn't watch the game, but appreciate this recording of the National Anthem.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Well. This is interesting...

Sorry I don't know how to make it full-screen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mom can't remember this at all

As I remember, she went to see him. She was attending SDSU at the time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Same-sex Attraction

August 24, 2011

Openly Gay Mormon Appointed to LDS Church Leadership Position
Post by Joanna Brooks

Late Sunday, news came across the Mormon grapevine: an openly gay Mormon man named Mitch Mayne had been asked (or “called,” in Mormon parlance) to serve as a leader in an LDS congregation in San Francisco.

Before receiving his call to serve in San Francisco, Mayne had been attending an LDS congregation in Oakland, where Mormons have been especially active in efforts to repair damage to interfaith and LDS-LGBT relations since the LDS Church’s heavy involvement in California’s 2008 Proposition 8 campaign.

Mayne was also in a committed, monogamous relationship with his male partner. About a year ago, Mayne decided to end his relationship, for reasons not related to religion. It was, he said, the hardest thing he ever did: harder, even, than burying his parents.

Mayne felt he needed time to heal, and he chose to take a break from relationships altogether. Several months later, Bishop Don Fletcher of the San Francisco Bay Ward asked him to serve as ward executive secretary, a leadership position that serves with the ward lay-pastoral leadership (or “bishopric,” in Mormon terms) to coordinate congregational administrative and pastoral functions and to participate in congregational executive-level decision-making as well.

“I was floored,” says Mayne. “I told him: ‘My entire life I’ve known I was gay. Why would I have lived my life to be worthy of serving a bishopric-level calling? A calling that as I gay man I’ve been told I was not entitled to? I am a three-dimensional person.’”

After a frank discussion with local Church leaders, Mayne committed to adhere to the same standards of sexual morality expected of heterosexual members of the LDS Church, and he agreed to serve.

(Sources I spoke with in the San Francisco Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirm that Mayne’s calling was conducted according to LDS Church policy and that it does not represent an innovation but simply an implementation of policies permitting any member who is found worthy by their local priesthood leaders to serve.)

“I love my Heavenly Father, and one of the ways I express that love is through being my genuine self, and honoring the way He made me,” Mayne told me. “I now have a unique opportunity to focus on helping other people.”

Mayne is particularly committed to reaching out to the many LGBT Mormons who live within his congregation’s service area.

“We have so many people on the Church records who are inactive, whose families are still members. Many of them served honorably as Mormon missionaries. Many identify as LGBT. I want them to understand that like me they do have a home here,” Mayne says. “As an openly gay priesthood leader, I hope my example also shows that not only do they have a home here but they have a path.”

A home. A welcoming home in a religious tradition that has a profound and lasting impact on its members, and a chance to express their faith through the path of service: that’s what Mitch Mayne and many other LGBT Mormons want.

In LDS communities, where lay congregational leaders have positions analogous to those of priests, pastors, and rabbis, news of Mayne’s calling is having an impact, revealing continuing divisions among Mormons and questions about evolving Mormon views on homosexuality.

There is, in fact, no consensus Mormon view on homosexuality. While most Mormons view homosexual sexual activity as a sin, Church leaders have expressed divergent perspectives on LGBT issues, ranging from condemnatory and derisive to ameliorative and compassionate.

In the past, LDS Church leaders have endorsed conversion therapies, or encouraged gay Mormons enter heterosexual marriages. Some have declined to use the terms “gay and lesbian” and instead have used the words “same sex attraction” in order to make the case that homosexuality is not an inherent and lasting feature of personhood. Consequently, many conservative Mormons continue to believe that sexual orientation is changeable, a gravely sinful “lifestyle” choice to be simply rejected, or a condition to be “struggled” with and overcome, like alcoholism.

Liberal Mormons tend to view homosexuality as a naturally-occurring human trait that is not abhorrent to God. Some congregations welcome participation by openly gay people who maintain chastity. Other Mormons, however, feel that it is unjust and impossible to expect gay Mormons to abstain from intimate relationships their entire lifetimes.

The LDS Church’s recent investments in anti-marriage-equality campaigns like Proposition 8 have created deep divides in Mormon families and communities, giving those who take the most condemnatory view of homosexuality a sense of institutional backing, while discouraging many liberal Mormons and LDS people with LGBT friends and relatives.

“The Mormon community—gay and straight—is starved for reconciliation on gay issues,” Mayne observes.

Even as some conservative Mormons are expressing confusion over Mayne’s call to serve, others are expressing hope and joy.

“One of the most heartening things is the straight people—people I don’t even know, from across the country—who have written me to say, ‘My wife and I have been praying for greater understanding and light on LGBT issues in the Church for years. This issue has been tearing us up. But hearing about your call strengthened our testimonies both of the Church and of our Savior.’”

As heartening as this kind of reaction to his new calling has been, Mayne also finds it quite daunting to be among the first if not the first openly gay LDS man called to serve in a congregational leadership capacity in the post-Proposition 8 era.

“I’m just Mitch Mayne,” he told me. “I’m not anyone’s savior. I’m not a spokesman for the LDS Church. I don’t set doctrine. I’m sure as heck not Joseph Smith or Harvey Milk. I’m just here and available to serve. And that’s what’s exciting. By serving my Mormon community, I get to serve my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I love Him so much.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dear Governor Brown: SB 48

Re: SB 48
Dear Governor Brown,

Over the next two weeks, you will decide whether to sign or to veto Senate Bill 48, which addresses Social Science curricula in California schools. I urge you to veto this bill. Parts of the bill are unnecessary. Other parts are discriminatory and promote a special interest agenda that is politically driven.

As a retired teacher familiar with state-adopted elementary school Social Science text adoptions, I find no evidence to suggest that existing adoptions contain material that reflects adversely upon people because of their sexual orientation. In today's environment, it is almost impossible that any publisher would include adverse material in the future. The portions of the bill that prohibit discrimination in instructon and textual materials, however are not the parts of SB 48 that I object to. By themselves, they may be harmless.

I do object to the portions of the bill that mandate inclusion of instruction and materials about people selected by virtue of their sexual orientaton. Significant contributions to our community and our history may be addressed without highlighting people's sexual preference. While appearing to be a further protection of a historically persecuted group, SB 48 threatens the First Amendment rights of conscientious teachers who maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to sexual orientation, by forcing them to instruct material that compromises their sense of moral conviction.

People by law are currently represented in the California Social Science Curriculum with defference to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and nationality. These words describe classes of people based upon physical appearance or other inalterable conditions. Only religion, the last protected descriptor, is defined by individual behavior, actual and presumed. Usually people of religion are included in the curriculum for their actions within the purview of their callings, such as Junipero Serra's building of missions, or the arrival of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego. The curriculum does not address the intimate religiosity per se of people of religion, though one can presume what that involves. SB 48 proposes the inclusion of a new group of people whose uniqueness is tied to the behavior of its members; in this case, sexual behavior. I do not consider that to be a responsible rationale for insisting that a person be included or excluded in the curriculum. A person's contributions should be evaluated on their own merits. It is an unnecessary and politicized effort to mandate the identificaiton of people with respect to their intimate and private sexual behavior. We do not point out that Father Serra practiced celibacy as part of the curriculum. It is not the role of schools to point out anyone's sexual preference. Some may want it to be so, but I think their motivation has more to do with politics than civil rights.

In grade school, I was educated here in California from an admittedly ethnocentric point of view. Straight healthy white males dominated the pages of school Social Science textbooks. This was, of course, an inaccurate portrayal of history. When I started teaching in the 1980s, the pendulum had swung. Leafing through the fourth grade California History text, for example, the majority of illustrations and marginalia was devoted to members of so-called minority groups. This also was inaccurate, in a well-intended, but faulty way. Today, texts are more moderate, and hopefully more accurate and fair.

I do not believe that a person's sexual orientation should determine her or his inclusion in, or exclusion from, a textbook. Neither do I believe that sexual orientation should be a mandated topic of discussion in public school Social Science classes. There may be a place for incidental discussion of the topic during Family Life instructon in the Health and Science curriculum, but it should not be mandated there either. Please veto SB 48.

Very respectfully,
Bradley L. Hill