Posts tagged ‘Same Sex marriage’

June 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: Reflecting on New York’s Marriage Law (Part 3)

by thefulllidvmg

I want to focus on three pragmatic issue points regarding same-sex marriage. They may span the general topic of same-sex marriage or something specific to New York.

  1. “Same-sex marriage is doing a big no no: it is redefining traditional marriage”. This message has cropped up across the anti-same sex marriage spectrum, from Pat Robertson on the 700 club to intellectuals at the NRO. You can’t redefine traditional (American, not Biblical) marriage because it has never been done before in any civilization or nation. To some, America is doomed because we have opened the Pandora box and begun to accepted (and even show love, not bigotry (why do some Christians worship on Sundays their lord of love but flamethrow the other days of the week?) for) same-sex marriage couples and their relationships.

Steven Taylor explains just a smidgen of the falsehood in the claim that marriage has never been redefined before. His piece is worth a full read but I will give you a paragraph or so:

“…the very fact that there were laws forbidding interracial marriage demonstrates the degree to which marriage has been a creature of legislation.  And, as I noted the other day, the involvement of government in marriage is essentially escapable.  So, at least from a legal point of view, marriage hasbeen redefined in living memory.”

Taylor delves into the story of Jacob of the Torah who had an interesting “marriage”. Indeed marriage has evolved since the days of marriages arranged by fathers, bride prices, bigamy, and sanctioned adultery.

2. “Same-sex marriage was legislated by liberal thugs, liberal tyrants, and (insert any other foaming at the mouth ad hominem, non-reality based stereotype)”. These sad canards crop up at the NRO, even to the point of comparing the New York state legislative process to fascist North Korea.
Faith in Public Life has continually brought the cut throat discussions in politics back to where they should be: to a humanized form. Ad hominem stereotypes distort and distract conversations to the point that we are no longer are talking about humans equal to us (and made in the image of God: imago deo) but “the gays”. FIPL provided a few news ads and commentary that helps with the now everpresent topic of same-sex marriage post-New York.

3. “Gays are going to sue religious organizations for discrimination”. This was an issue for the four Republican legislators in New York. Would there be enough protection for churches and organizations that may have objections to serving same-sex weddings or events so that they are not liable for discrimination? In a brief paragraph, yes, those protections are in place:

One of the most striking things about the week-long battle was how much of it hinged on the canard that worked so well for anti-marriage activists in California: If gay marriage is passed, religious organizations will be forced to marry same-sex couples, and businesses that object to homosexuality will be sued for refusing to provide their services at gay weddings. Under current law, religious leaders already can’t be compelled to sanctify a same-sex union, making this bill’s provision a politically motivated redundancy. Whether passing a same-sex marriage law without a religious exemption for businesses makes a difference is a more murky question. City and state nondiscrimination laws might have required businesses to provide their services at gay weddings—a protection the law passed yesterday supersedes. But it’s hard to imagine too many people in the wedding industry turning down money, and which gay couple would want to hire a homophobic organization anyway?

June 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: Reflecting on New York’s Marriage Law (Part 2)

by thefulllidvmg

Let’s first take a look at Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s lamentation over New York (this is almost the most foaming at the mouth pro-family you can get today):

I have long opposed the redefinition and nullification of marriage, the central building block for society. Indeed, as a U.S. senator I co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment. As a citizen, I actively campaigned against the judges in Iowa who ordered gay marriage there.  I also was one of the first to step out and encourage the leadership of the House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court when the president refused to do so. Unlike others in this race, I believe it is the role of the president to weigh in when states try to redefine the meaning of marriage. Marriage is defined in the federal law as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; any state that redefines marriage is wreaking havoc not only with the definitions of the federal law and the majority of states, but, even more importantly, with the single most important and time-tested institution of every successful society.

My emphasis is made on the last sentence. There is a general lamenation that traditional marriage is fleeting. To some, passing legislation to allow people of different sexual orientations dissolves traditional marriage. But wait, same-sex marriage has been legal in some states for some time now. Why has the family been doing better, not worse, since then? David Frum gives a personal take:

I was a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. Fourteen years ago, Andrew Sullivan and I forcefully debated the issue at length online (at a time when online debate was a brand new thing).

Yet I find myself strangely untroubled by New York state’s vote to authorize same-sex marriage — a vote that probably signals that most of “blue” states will follow within the next 10 years.

I don’t think I’m alone in my reaction either. Most conservatives have reacted with calm — if not outright approval — to New York’s dramatic decision.

Why?

The short answer is that the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test.

Since 1997, same-sex marriage has evolved from talk to fact.

If people like me had been right, we should have seen the American family become radically more unstable over the subsequent decade and a half.

Instead — while American family stability has continued to deteriorate — it has deteriorated much more slowly than it did in the 1970s and 1980s before same-sex marriage was ever seriously thought of.

By the numbers, in fact, the 2000s were the least bad decade for American family stability since the fabled 1950s. And when you take a closer look at the American family, the facts have become even tougher for the anti-gay marriage position.

Mataconis sums up Frum’s point:

Indeed. We’ve lived with same-sex marriage, and more generally increasing acceptance of homosexuality, for long enough now to know that the gloom-and-doom preachers were wrong and that the world isn’t going to end just because two women, or two men, go down to City Hall and get a marriage license.

Kathryn Jean Lopez brings up a quote from George Weigel. She ends her post with no comment regarding his quote:

Marriage, as both religious and secular thinkers have acknowledged for millennia, is a social institution that is older than the state and that precedes the state. The task of a just state is to recognize and support this older, prior social institution; it is not to attempt its redefinition. To do the latter involves indulging the totalitarian temptation that lurks within all modern states: the temptation to remanufacture reality. The American civil-rights movement was a call to recognize moral reality; the call for gay marriage is a call to reinvent reality to fit an agenda of personal willfulness. The gay-marriage movement is thus not the heir of the civil-rights movement; it is the heir of Bull Connor and others who tried to impose their false idea of moral reality on others by coercive state power.

A humane society will find ample room in the law for accommodating a variety of human relationships in matters of custodial care, hospital visiting rights, and inheritance. But there is nothing humane about the long march toward the dictatorship of relativism, nor will there be anything humane about the destination of that march, should it be reached. The viciousness visited upon Archbishop Dolan and other defenders of marriage rightly understood during the weeks before the vote in Albany is yet another testimony to the totalitarian impulse that lurks beneath the gay marriage movement.

Because a same-sex marriage is not reality for some heterosexuals does not mean it is not reality for others. You gotta love the comparison of Bull Conor and the use of fire hoses (powerful enough to peel bark off of trees) on African Americans in preventing them to vote to marriage equality (legislatively achieved through many measures, not in totalitarian fashion by a dictator). As Sullivan notes, we live in a republic, not a church. I am left wondering what aspects of life are on the sacrosanct list never to be touched, altered, or changed for the sake of doing something about an ever growing group of humans

(Photo: A young boy waves a flag during the 2011 NYC LGBT Pride March on the streets of Manhattan on June 26, 2011 in New York City. Thousands of revelers had reason to celebrate since New York state legislators approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage which Governor Cuomo signed in to law on Friday June 24. By Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

June 27, 2011

Pride and Prejudice: Reflecting on New York’s Marriage Law (Part 1)

by thefulllidvmg

The passing on Friday of the New York state law allowing same-sex couples to marry (which kicks in in 30 days) was monumental. The population of the Empire State alone (19 some million people) outnumbers the five other relatively small Northeastern states (and Iowa /D.C.).

This law, and many other important events, are going to be almost magnified in importance as we approach the 2012 election. Each candidate, including the incumbent, will be asked what they think about the new law in New York, if it should or shouldn’t come down to the state legislatures deciding on such matters, and if this could possibly be a national law in the coming decade.

One of the major issues that stood out in crafting the same-sex marriage law in New York was religious protections for churches, organizations, and the like. The Right has let out some steam on this issue, comparing New York to North Korea and insisting that anti-same sex marriage is not anti-homosexuality but really pro-marriage. What has been surprising and refreshing is to see many members of the Right and Republican Party rebuke their own side and agree with passing this law. This floor speech is worth watching for it captures some of the roots of the small government / libertarian in most Republicans as well as religious protection:

Even Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has some nuanced respect for the New York law.

David True calls those paying attention to see that this law is not solely about saving same-sex couples from an encroaching government with its “moralistic” laws but ” it is about claiming the legal right (with the help of government) to make a huge commitment, indeed, one of the most profound and traditional commitments one can make.” True describes marriage as “an unfolding story”, one that can have “us appreciate what has come before” as well as recognize the “cultural revolution” upon us as part of the timeline.

Marriage in this view can even be compared to God. Both marriage and God are infinite spheres (the former of love and commitment, the latter of the same as well as a divine expanse of justice, judgement, and redemption). Neither can be fully grasped with words here on earth. If anything, words at times can hold these two back and muddle their true essences. In the end, participating with both provide more than words ever could.

(Pictured: The First Presbyterian Church of NYC on 5th Ave & 12th St., which was on the Pride Parade route. The congregants passed out water and hung a huge welcome banner, complete with triangles.

June 24, 2011

Push Ups in Albany

by thefulllidvmg

As the New York state legislature wait for the outcome of the same-sex marriage bill, state senators are having push up contests (with improper elbow form).

June 22, 2011

What you should know about Jon Huntsman

by thefulllidvmg

Believe it or not, but Jon Huntsman could possibly be someone I’d vote for over Obama in 2012. Huntsman has a great track record as an executive (two-term governor of Utah),which Obama in retrospect may have needed more than he thought, and is focused on two very important things: job creation and returning civility to our public debate. First, the economy:

We must reignite the powerful job creating engine of our economy – the industry, innovation, reliability, and trailblazing genius of Americans and their enterprises — and restore confidence in our people.

We did many of these things in Utah when I was governor. We cut taxes and flattened rates. We balanced our budget. Worked to maintain our AAA bond rating. When the economic crisis hit, we were ready. And by many accounts we became the best state for business and the best managed state in America. We proved government doesn’t have to choose between fiscal responsibility and economic growth. I learned something very important as Governor. For the average American family there is nothing more important than a job.

Second, civility. When was the last time you honestly heard a Republican candidate speak like this?

I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for President. Of course we’ll have our disagreements. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American.

Jonathan Chait sees the divide between Huntsman and the GOP that may hold him back from succeeding:

The posture of maximal opposition to Obama is the one single thing upon which the entire party agrees. The notion that a dissenter against that consensus might win the presidential nomination is not merely a longshot but totally absurd.

Then there is matching him, his resume, and his message up with the GOP pack:

Huntsman will continue to get a good press (hiring John Weaver, John McCain’s image-guy/strategist was a smart move) and that press won’t be enough. Nor will many people vote for Huntsman because of his foreign policy credentials: as Spencer Ackerman says, being a diplomat don’t give you much suction or juice these days. Anyway, when the C-word comes up we know that Huntsman is going to say something sensible about how America shouldn’t be too worried too soon by too much of anything that China might do. Most of the other “leading” contenders will advise Americans to press the panic button and this, I am afraid, will be more effective than anything Huntsman can say.

Huntsman also comments on the New York state bill to legalize same-sex marriage:

… Huntsman was asked specifically about the growing likelihood of a same-sex marriage bill being passed in New York. Would he seek to overrule Empire State lawmakers should he end up in the Oval Office? “I would respect the state’s decision on that,” he replied.

The answer, while brisk, nevertheless sets Huntsman apart from his fellow Republican presidential candidates. Other members of the field have offered sympathy for state sovereignty on matters of marriage. But they have usually couched that by saying they would support a federal ban on same-sex marriage as well.

(Photo: Republican Jon Huntsman speaks during a press conference to announce his bid for the presidency at Liberty State Park June 21, 2011 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Huntsman, until recently the U.S. ambassador to China under President Obama, emphasized his record as a two-term governor of Utah. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)

June 12, 2011

Our Subjective God

by thefulllidvmg

Paula Kirby went from being a devout Christian to an Atheist. She makes some interesting conclusions on God and how the masses have viewed the divine over the ages.

One of the things that had struck me during my Christian years was just how many different Christianities there are.  Not just the vast number of different sects and denominations (over 38,000 by one reckoning), but the huge amount of difference between individual Christians of the same sect or denomination, too.  The beliefs and attitudes of an evangelical, biblical, literalist Christian compared with a liberal Christian are so wildly different that we might almost be dealing with two completely different religions.

No matter what religion you believe in, you have to view God in a subjective lens:

Like every other Christian I have ever known, I had clear ideas about the kind of God I believed in and, on the basis of those ideas, I accepted certain bits of Christian dogma while utterly rejecting others.  Again, let me stress: this is par for the course.  In practice faith is always a pick-and-mix affair: believers emphasise those bits that sit comfortably with them, whilst mostly ignoring those bits that do not, or concocting elaborate interpretations to allow them to pretend they do not mean what they actually say.  So this was the question I faced up to in 2003: What was there to suggest that the version of Christianity I believed in was actually real? Was there any better evidence for the version I accepted than there was for the versions I did not?

The Bible could not help me. Both kinds of Christian – the ultra-conservative and the ultra-liberal – find abundant support for their views in the Bible provided they cherry-pick enough (and, of course, they do just that, filing the bits that don’t suit their case under the convenient headings of “Metaphor” or “Mystery”).

I myself tend to stray away from overemphasizing sin, heaven, and the like when I talk about God, my religious beliefs, and even when I am reading the Bible. Sure, the daily lectionary has me reading portions of the Bible that mention sin and heaven. I try to read up on the Greek and Hebrew, which usually have their original translation as vastness instead of heaven.

This has fostered some inner-thoughts as I have had several discussions with friends lately on the topic of same-sex marriage / homosexuality and how those two are seen or should be treated by the Bible and government. Plethora of verses are mentioned to denounce the two and I have up to this point said that they talk about pederastery, not what we know today as homosexuality. Re-reading these texts has me constantly asking questions. I try to focus on the context of the letters and laws in the Bible and keep them under the umbrellas of love, compassion, and justice. One other important topic that has played into that discussion is defining the role of marriage. Is it meant for pro-creation (child bearing) or as a covenant between two individuals? Attending a wedding can answer that question very clearly. Weddings usually mention nothing about sex or bearing children but forming a lasting relationship with your partner. If these marriage ceremonies are merely man-made, why then are they not changing in form and substance towards emphasizing “what the Bible says” about marriage?

I finish my reflection with this quote from Kirby:

This is why subjective experience cannot tell us anything about God.  Knowing what kind of god someone believes in tells us a great deal about that person – but nothing whatsoever about the truth or otherwise of the existence of any god at all.

Kirby is partially correct. Our experiences of God can tell some but not all of who God is. Looking back over time, we can see the many views of God and the roles the divine has played in people’s lives. They, just like ours, are merely reflections from a mirror, not the full picture.

May 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

by thefulllidvmg

“In the late 1990s, a flurry of books were written about what the Bible says and what the Bible does not say about homosexuality. Outstanding Bible scholars joined the fray. There was a clear winner. The commonly held position today is that the Bible says nothing about same-sex relationships that is relevant to the modern discussion. There are many voices who are still shouting “the Bible says …” but they are seen as irrelevant to our modern discussions of same-sex marriages. They are of the same genre as the recent predictions of the end of the world.

Serious theological discussion has turned to the nature of the marriage relationship rather than the sexual orientation of those who are being bound together. In traditional Protestant wedding ceremonies, the persons presenting themselves for a blessing of their relationships are asked to make promises. They are asked to promise to have and to hold one another from that moment on, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as they both shall live. They are truly joined in marriage when they promise to be faithful in those responsibilities. There is no mention of sexual activity or childbearing. Faithfulness in the keeping of promises is the glue of Christian marriage.

A new discussion of the marriage relationship is a refreshing development. While I am glad to see the demise of legal barriers to gay marriages, and while I am glad to see the growing acceptance of our gay friends in our churches, I am most pleased to see the move to looking at the marriage relationship as an opportunity to experience both human and sacred wholeness.” –Rev. Howard Bess, writing from Wasilla, AK (where Sarah Palin is from)

Enjoy your holiday weekends, yall! Eat some hotdogs and burgers with me :)

May 27, 2011

America’s Moral Acceptance of Same-Sex Marriage

by thefulllidvmg

And this is why many fundamentalists say we are doomed as a country. Money quote:

Americans are somewhat less likely to consider gay or lesbian relations to be morally acceptable than to say they should be legal. However, the 56% who consider gay or lesbian relations morally acceptable is the highest Gallup has measured since this question was first asked in 2001.

May 24, 2011

Waning Support For Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Views

by thefulllidvmg

“We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that,” – Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family.

In part, I am looking forward to what my generation brings to the table as it grows and progresses. I know, however, that there will be downsides to my generation and everything will not be great with this “more open” mentality.

May 24, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage: “A Choice, Not a Fate”

by thefulllidvmg

Andrew Sullivan explains like almost no one else can:

It has always seemed chilling to me that gay leftists – when pushed to say what they really believe –  want to keep gays in some sort of glorious, oppressed, marginalized position, until the majority agrees with the gay left’s view of human nature, and revolutionizes straight society as well. This will never happen (and in my view, shouldn’t).

Until then, the gay left focuses on demonizing those gays who argue for those who want to belong to their own families as equals, serve their country or commit to one another for life. In this, in my view, the gay left mirrors the Christianist right: they insist that otherness define the minority, even though most members of that minority are born and grow up in the heart of the American family, in all its variations, and of American culture, in all its permutations. No one should be marginalized for seeking otherness. But we are fighting for it to be a choice, not a fate.

He was responding to this piece:

Nobody is saying gay people have to get married—only that it should be a legal option if they want it. If you disagree with marriage, don’t get married.

This is good for the U.S. to think about because just as there are many nuances and shades in different religious groups (literal factual readers of The Bible vs. metaphorical historical readers of The Bible), there are some in the GLBT fold as well.

May 21, 2011

A New Era in Same-Sex Marriage Opinion

by thefulllidvmg


Andrew Sullivan explains:

Democrats’ and independents’ support for legalized same-sex marriage increased this year by 13 and 10 points, respectively. Republicans’ views on the issue did not change from last year. Clear majorities of both Democrats and independents now support gay marriage, 69% and 59% respectively, contrasted with 28% support among Republicans.

To go from 41 points behind to 8 points ahead in a decade and a half must count as one of the most successful political and social campaigns in history.

Update: more details on this here.

May 14, 2011

“Is T.V. Too Gay?”

by thefulllidvmg

A discussion with Bryan Fischer (of course) since the recent Glee episode that featured two same-sex teen couples. Money quote:

As much as you all (Bryan Fischer (American Family Association and other right wing groups) want to bring 1954 back, you can’t.

April 21, 2011

“We have much bigger problems to worry about than same-sex marriage”

by thefulllidvmg

So says…wait for it…the New Hampshire Tea Party:

March 26, 2011

Eat This Chart: The Catholic Church and Marriage Views

by thefulllidvmg

Some of these shifts (video) amongst the Catholic church are interesting. Money quote from the second link: “What most cardinals believe is not in line with the Catholic church following and many, many political pundits have it wrong about the church.”

 

February 14, 2011

Cultural Power Names Reality

by thefulllidvmg

I don’t really ever agree with Maggie Gallagher but she pins the media on this one:

For instance, what was the big news about gay marriage this week? Historic new victories in Wyoming and Indiana? Huge new crowds turning out against same-sex marriage in Rhode Island and Maryland? Legislators getting slammed with phone calls from constituents opposing SSM?No. The big story was that one Maryland senator changed his vote to favor gay marriage. Gay-marriage advocates are still several votes shy of what they need, even though Maryland is one of the bluest states in the nation, but never mind the facts: “Big victory inevitable” is always the message you hear, no matter what the facts are.

James Davison Hunter is right: Cultural power is the power to name reality. They have far more cultural power than we do, and they name our realities.

I don’t agree with Gallagher’s overall take on the issue of SSM but I believe she is on to something when it comes to our media and what is reported.

September 21, 2010

What About The Children? Malignancy Rooted in the Marriage Debate

by thefulllidvmg

Updated; added a link to DADT below (as of 9/21/10 at 8:49pm)
Andrew Sullivan continues on with the sulfuric same-sex marriage debate by reading the cover story by the National Review. He and I agree that this issue, along with DADT, are absolutely a theological issue first and a political issue second. The NRO stance echoes the Vatican doctrine of marriage: primarily for procreative purposes.

The article is a mass of non sequiturs. It assumes that if marriage is “for” something—regulating procreative sex—then using it for anything else must be “against” marriage, which is like saying that if mouths are “for” eating, we mustn’t use them for talking or breathing. It claims (conjecturally) that marriage would not have arisen if not for the fact that men and women make babies, from which it concludes that society has no stake in childless marriages.

Since this is primarily a theological issue, this all can’t be solved in political terms. Even court rulings dictate what is legal or illegal but cannot override the popular consensus amongst the church pertaining to same sex marriage. The key verses that are always thought of in mind, sometimes even recited verbatim on call, are Genesis 19 (make sure to read Ezekiel 16:49-50), Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9-11. See chapter 7 in Love is an Orientation for a better effort than I can ever muster at unpacking those “Big 5″.

The material to dig through related to this topic is literally endless. The material I have read, in short listing, has been enlightening but in my eyes (and the eyes of a graduate from a feminist woman’s college) has fallen short of fully encompassing the subject.

I could pontificate about the annals of political movements dabbering with this subject, but that is all downstream from the ultimate priorities and beliefs that make up the foundation of the same-sex marriage polemic. A spiritual mentor of mine in college, who is happy with being a neophyte when it comes to politics, always said that politics are downstream from our hearts, our faith, and our religious beings.

September 12, 2010

Maggie Gallagher, Saint Peter, the Pearly Gates, and Same Sex Marriage

by thefulllidvmg
August 13, 2010

To Fellow Conservatives, With Love

by thefulllidvmg

“Conservatives cannot deny that our Founders intended the judiciary as an equal and independent branch of government purposed to ensure the protection of every citizen’s rights. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the right to marry is a fundamental constitutional right.

When an unpopular minority is denied the right to marry, it is indeed the role of the courts to protect the rights of that minority, especially when a majority would deny them. This is why Judge Walker’s opinion reads, “That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

Not to mention that conservatives have a flawed history with civil rights, a trend that began when Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act as unconstitutional. While Goldwater was no racist there is clearly a conservative precedent for a breakdown at the intersection of ideology and reality,” – Fox News contributorMargaret Hoover, in an open letter to “fellow conservatives.”

Another conservative now is out on this topic, clearly against their base establishment. It is refreshing to read quotes like this. I only wonder what the response was like on Fox News.

Hat tip: The Daily Dish

August 13, 2010

Rush’ “Monogamous” Heterosexual Lifestyle

by thefulllidvmg

The rest of the photo’s are here. Till death do us part, eh?

This storyline goes along with the rest of the “monogamous” heterosexual crowd: Larry King, Elizabeth Taylor, et al. Like I have noted before, this doesn’t give solid enough reason (in my opinion) for same sex marriage but discredits many pundits. In part, I do support not making certain people second-rate citizens but am not fully convinced of the reasons supporting same sex marriage.

August 13, 2010

Support for Same Sex Marriage

by thefulllidvmg

This chart, taken from a CNN poll, shows that since 1988 support seems to be growing.

Not only has public opinion and perception changed regarding marriage equality for all but so have the roles, relationships, and qualities within heterosexual marriages. We can’t forget about that in the midst of hot button discussions. You can see the somewhat biased view here by the Atlantic and the hippie Christian fundamentalist view here, here, and here.

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