Gay Dallas Judge Tonya Parker Refuses to Marry Homosexual Couples in her Court

On the surface, if you are one who stands behind Paul on Romans 1:24-27 (among many other verses of course), you would think this judge refusing gay marriage in her courtroom is a good thing (see YouTube video Judge Parker talks about LGBT issues in her court). But today of course, you can never look at something on the surface level, or by the headlines, and really get the full picture. This judge is taking her stand as a form of protest that the Texas legislature has not passed a law permitting Gay marriage, so she is refusing to marry gay couples in her court room, and instead is choosing to pass the buck down the line to her fellow judges (I’m sure they appreciate that) to wed all the gay couples coming to her courtroom. She says:

“I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away,” Parker said. “So I usually will offer them something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’ And it’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it.”

I pick this topic up this morning briefly (this is a great post too), as I have about once a year, because of the similar nature it has to do with a post I did years ago that still resonates with the gay marriage debate, Christian Photographer Who Refused Gay Wedding Lost Lawsuit. Our culture is at such a point today where we have utterly refused to see the Truth that before long, posts like this will be considered hate speech. It is already to a point where in Colorado you can’t openly speak what the Truth of Scripture says about the homosexual lifestyle, something you haven’t been able to do in Canada in a long time.

Frankly speaking, I’m tired of this country acting like the homosexual debate is a matter of civil rights, but that’s what happens when we blend Truth with sin. Eventually when the state of Texas makes it legal for Gay couples to marry, as I am pretty sure all states eventually will, I hope as the post above stated, they will offer the same courtesy to a judge who refuses to perform Gay weddings due to their religious beliefs, though that judge will probably be sued. My point is basically this… I am for equality, free speech, and the freedoms this country were founded on, but don’t exchange one freedom for another like they seem to have already done in Canada and elsewhere. I have the right to say homosexuality is a sin according to God’s word (one that is equal with any other sin we all commit on a a daily basis, both needing of repentance), just like others have the right to say it isn’t. My question is, when does openly speaking about Romans 1 become “illegal” in America?

None of this changes Paul’s words in Romans. Nothing ever will. No matter how much we debate the topic in this country of whether homosexuality is a sin or not, God’s words in Romans (and many other places) will never change. You can change the laws in the country, you can even put people in jail or sue them for speaking the Truth or taking a stand for their beliefs, but even if Heaven and Earth pass away, God’s words will never pass away (Luke 21:33).

Last Few Instrumental Photos from the National Polka Festival

Here are two more instrumental shots from last weekend’s 2011 National Polka Festival from Ennis Texas. You can also see the NPF gallery on Flickr. These are two of my favorite shots of the weekend, one being the corner edge of a steel guitar. These were both taken handheld from about 20 feet away from both instruments, while they were being played. If you are interested in the EXIF data on the images just head over to the Flickr gallery.

National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2011 and It’s Age at 45

Last night started the 45th Annual National Polka Festival from Ennis, Texas. I’m not going to post a bunch of photos here on my blog but you can see the photos on my Flickr Set for the National Polka Festival.  This festival is something we try to go to every year, and it’s an event Deborah has gone to since she was about 3 or 4 years old. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed much since she was 3 or 4 years old, but it’s still quite fun to celebrate her Czech heritage with others. I just wish the promoters and people in charge of marketing the festival would recognize we are no longer in the 1970’s and make a better attempt to pass along an important event and heritage to the younger generation. It’s time!

I’m not in charge of course but I do work in communicating a message, communicating a way of life that has to be passed from one generation to another in order to survive, and there are some similarities to this and my own ministry. I totally understand their desire to maintain tradition, and that’s important, but each year that goes by the festival promoters attempt to remember the past, not necessarily the traditions, and do nothing to bring in the youngest generation.

Case in point, I go to the SOKOL (the starting hall last night), open Foursquare, no venue checkin. Fine, I create one, take a pic, upload it, now I’m Mayor (haha). I take some photos, go to upload them to Flickr. There is no Flickr group, so I create one (Polka Festival). The only pics on Flickr that show up are from 2 years ago when I posted them, ok, I’ll post a few more. There is no chatter on Twitter, none on Facebook (none that I can find officially from the NPF website, thought they do have a Facebook page, very commendable), and zero, I mean zero computers or other connected devices at the event. Of course there is no wifi (I brought my own) so it wouldn’t make much sense to have a “device” anyway. And, not to embarrass anyone at all, but, all you have to do is take one look at the National Polka Festival website and you get the whole picture. I mean really, come on guys, pay some high school kid $250 to update your website? Do a google search for the “National Polka Festival” and after the official site I’m number 2 and 3 on Google’s list, and I have nothing to do with the festival at all. So far, what they did do differently is bring in a “magician” for the weekend. It would take a whole completely different blog post to explain the things I think are wrong about that, but oh well. We have given it several years and we will probably not come back after this 2011 festival, instead opting to go to Nebraska where at least it will be a new experience.

I say none of this to chastise the festival but in an attempt to give them an outside, objective, perspective on the festival in hopes they will embrace the younger generation so it won’t completely die off… and I’m NOT the younger generation just in case they are reading this, I’m over 40, so you need to be ahead of what I’m talking about. I’ll get off my soapbox now, that’s my free advice to the NPF people in charge.

So, today there is a parade, venders, and Czech dancing and food at all three halls. I will be sure to ruin my diet by eating all the great German and Czech food available, and I’m sure we will enjoy our time at the festival today. For photos of the event just check out my Flickr page. You can also see posts from the previous years 20102009Saturday Parade 200820082007Saturday 2006, and 2006.

The Dallas Skyline at Night on Our Arrival

So we made it to Dallas, just a quick 12-13 hour drive and we arrived. The trip was pleasantly uneventful and after dinner I was thrilled our hosts wanted to stop at their favorite skyline view so I could take some photos. I love photographing traffic at night, it has a unique motion all it’s own, but being here in Dallas standing over the I-30 bridge with a large tripod looked conspicuous to someone driving by and it only took about 10 minutes before the Dallas Police Department showed up. For once the police didn’t make me pack it up and go home, instead she just wanted to know how much my camera cost? The three above were my favorite of that shoot. At dinner tonight I found out I am going to get to go to the PGA Byron Nelson Championship, so hopefully I will get my first decent PGA Tour shots while I’m there, after that it’s Polka time.

One Man’s Junk Yard is Another Man’s Photographic Treasure

You can find photographic opportunities literally everywhere, these were within walking distance of my house and I’m now thinking they actually look better as a photograph than they do as I walk by every day. I must have looked at these old cars for 5 years, every single day, and never thought about capturing some images until a few days ago. These trucks have seen a lot of my personal history over the years, and at some point I’ll try to get back in there closer so I can avoid all the weeds. I’m thinking about making the middle shot into a nice 16×24 print. I would like to say I have something profound to write about junk and possessions and storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust don’t eat your vintage trucks but they were really just cool trucks sitting in the dirt being overtaken and claimed by the earth once again.

On another subject, this weeks is going to be another crazy crazy busy week, but towards the end of the week Deb and I will be heading out to Dallas for the annual National Polka Festival. We try to go every year but we missed it last year. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be posting some news about an upcoming trip in July, and then my blog will probably turn into the family trip blog on I-20 from Alabama to Texas. This time we are making the 750 mile trip in one day and I will probably attempt to max out our Verizon MiFi on the way out of boredom. I am looking forward to bringing back a bunch more images than I have in the past, for some reason, perhaps because of everything going on at the end of last year, I have keen desire for sheer photographic documentation.

Summer certainly seems to be here at this point in Auburn. We can’t seem to get out of these upper 95* days (although it seems really early for that), and everyone seems to have scattered to the wind like they always do once school lets out. This trip to Dallas is actually going to be our first trip out of the area since about January 2010. As a person who once loved to travel, I’m a bit apprehensive about this trip and others coming up this summer. Time to let go and give it up to God and let him handle the worrying, but I would appreciate your prayers, at least for this coming weekend.

Coming up, hopefully tomorrow, is a shoot from the Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, info about a trip coming up in July, and then it’s on to Polka days.

Deborah with a Little Twang from 1982 :: Throwback Thursday

Today is Thursday so I pulled this gem out of the closet (literally) for Throwback Thursday. I love the expression in Deborah’s face in this shot, it has always been one of my favorites. It was taken back in 1982 when she was 16 years old. This photo was sitting right next to all the pictures from “punk day” where they all seemed to go to school wearing what seems like normal clothes to us now (although Deborah had on a “RUSH” shirt, and I’m pretty sure that was for the band, not sorority week).

I hope somewhere in this Lent season you are finding some time to relax, reflect, and rejoice, it always seems like there is so much going on… the earth must be spinning twice as fast now as it was back in 1982.

National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2010

We have very few traditions in our house.  We usually try to have special days throughout the year, but not necessarily on the day everyone else decides it should be done.  One tradition we have maintained for the last five years is going to the annual National Polka Festival (their website needs a serious update) in Ennis Texas.  This year through all kinds of different circumstances we were not able to make it, but today, for the last five years, we have been in Ennis enjoying some of Deborah’s Czech heritage with all the other Czech, German, and Texan people from around the country.

Each year Deborah has hand made an authentic Czech costume, and I usually get a vest and or shirt to go along with her costume.  This past year her costume was red, white, and black.  In order to enter into the Czech dance contest you must be in full costume, so Deborah has made a point to hand make hers each year.

Since we were not able to be there this year I thought I would post a few photos from last year.  We are already making plans to be at the festival next year, but at least this year I saved about 10,000 calories from all the great Czech and German food that always accompanies the festival.  I am sure everyone will have a wonderful time this year, we will be enjoying our Memorial Day weekend at home, watching all these thunderstorms rolling through.

National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2009

Ebby and me at the Mississippi border.

This is a guest post by Deborah, she explains the Polka Festival far better than I do. Scott

Things around here have been so crazy that I have been unable to post this years collection of images from the Polka Festival.  Now that the mid-terms are over and the grandson has returned home I can finally turn my attention to more entertaining subjects.  Ebby enjoyed the trip to Dallas.

Closeup of the Chihuahua with an attitude!

Ebby and me at the Louisiana Border

Ebby and me at the Texas border.

The trip back was another story.  There were three of us, Me, Scott, and our three year old grandson William in the front cab of our little truck for the 14 hour trip back home.  Ebby lived in my lap the entire ride back.  All is well though.  We made it home without incident, unless you count the first hour in the truck when William turned to me and basically lost all his orange juice he had taken in before we left.  It was a mess, but we survived.

This year my dad and I competed in the King and Queen Dance again.  There were 21 couples competing this year and we didn’t even make it past the first cut.  We had fun though and the couple who won were far superior dancers and will represent the festival well in the year to come.

Nana and William

Competition was stiff!

Father/Daughter Dance

Don't we look smashing?

All the contestants are positioned around the dance floor.

Here is the video of our 2009, meager attempt at stardom…

On Saturday, we went to the parade as usual, but the parade was a huge disappointment this year.  Not only did it start about an hour late because of an inadvertently parked train across the intersection, but there were bands included in the floats that had absolutely NOTHING with Czech heritage, except perhaps that the members were residents of the greater Ennis area.  These bands were beyond metal in flavor and there was not a polka to be found.  Sad, really.  If Ennis wants to do something to promote the Polka Festival in the future they might want to try updating the website and begin thinking “nationally” again.  They are, after all, the National Polka Festival.  Ok, rant is over…  The best part of the parade for me was seeing Ebby all decked out in her costume.  She is truly a Czech/Mex dog!  Ha Ha



Ebby in Costume

We will not be attending this festival next year (or probably for a few years to come), mainly because we want to go visit some other festivals in other parts of the country.  Now that I have my supply of costumes, we can dance in style throughout Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Ohio, to name a few.  Stay tuned here for updates on our adventures to a polka festival near you.

Protesters for Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn Photos

Today all across the country people came out to protest the taxes and spending our government started months ago and has continued into present day.  After flipping through the mainstream media outlets, even CNN, I have determined that they just don’t get it.  They portray this to be a GOP or Republican thing and they are so far from understanding that people are fed up with our government overspending, growing larger and larger, and more importantly today, ever-increasing the taxation (in various forms) its citizens.

The media downplayed the Tax Day Tea Parties as insignificant and just noise that only a few loons from the far right would attend but in city after city thousands of people have gathered to say enough is enough.  Even the Texas governor this morning said he was personally going to three different Tea Parties in the state of Texas, and as governors go, Texas holds a mighty powerful position in the Union.

It started out with large cities like Boston and Atlanta but soon enough there were small rural towns, and yes, even Auburn University, who played host to a local Tea Party.  Below are just a few of the images from the Tea Party in Auburn today out in front of the University library.  Sadly, even the signs were censored as you will see below.  One of the guys holds up the sign that says “Stop Over Spending” was told he could not hold up his sign, which originally said “Stop Obama Spending”.  He was made to cross out the Obama reference and told he couldn’t say that?

I guess Bush did do a bit of spending before he left office but come on, this guy should be able to hold up a sign that has the word Obama on it?  Like no one ever made a sign that had BUSH on it with far more hateful things than that.  Oh well, such is life in 2009.

Here are some of the photos from today’s protest (thanks Deb).

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Tax Day Tea Party in Auburn

Stomping in the Rainy Day Photos :: Friday Feet

Reflections in the Rain

Deborah in the Rain

Deborah in the Rain

Deborah in the Rain

Deborah in the Rain

Today we were supposed to be camping down in Mississippi with beautiful sunshine and warm breezes but the photos I took today show just why we decided to go another weekend.  Some huge frontal system moved in yesterday and seems to be continuing to move east from Texas making for a very wet and cold few days.  I decided to go out in the rain anyway and take a few photos.

Deb was very nice to put up with standing in the rain for about an hour while I ran around and tried to take some photos without getting a drop of water on my camera equipment.  I was a little disappointed that the rain lightened up once we decided to go out, I was looking for the drenching look but I am sure Deborah was more than happy with a light rain.

Have a nice weekend everyone.