I was looking through some old files today and found this. I’m not sure what I did with it when I originally wrote it. I may have sent it somewhere – a newspaper, perhaps. Or I might just have let it sit there, encoded as 1’s and 0’s on my hard drive. I thought I’d like to see if anyone has anything to say (that is, if anyone is reading!).
Here it is:
Ours is a secular country. Yes, the Founders each had their own view of religion and included references to “God” in our founding literature. This by no means establishes our country as “Christian” or any other religious affiliation. Our country was founded to be a haven for the people who were persecuted for their beliefs in other places. It is not our responsibility to maintain a “Christian” government (nor “Jewish”, nor “Islamic” or “Hindu”). It is, however, our responsibility to ensure that people can worship as they please.
Let’s look at this in the context of gay marriage. First, even Christians can’t agree about whether this practice should be allowed. Some say that only heterosexual marriage is sanctioned by the church. Many others, including myself, have attended homosexual ceremonies. In my case, the ceremony was presided over by a gay woman pastor. If a religion is so divided internally about an issue, who is to choose the “correct” path for all? Remember, our country is secular and has a responsibility to allow every person to worship as s/he sees fit. By outlawing gay marriage, wouldn’t we be outlawing the branch of Christianity that allows for this, thereby not allowing people to worship as they see fit?
Additionally, our country is highly equipped right now to allow for atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and a whole slew of others in a wide array of belief and non-belief. By taking one flavor of Christianity (the one that looks at homosexuals as unnatural and wrong in God’s eyes) and making it into law, anyone who ascribes to another belief will become disenfranchised. Soon Washington D. C. will look a lot more like Tehran than it cares to admit.
The point lies here: Our legal system is based on morals that all can agree on, religious affiliation aside. It is secular. Each church, pastor, and priest has the ability to consent to marry a couple or not, depending on how they see that the couple fits into the belief structure of the organization. Each church should maintain that right – not everyone needs or wants to get married in a church.
However, there is a whole section of our society over which there is some debate whether their homosexuality is something they are born with or something they choose to embrace who are constantly (and legally) prevented from holding the same rights as the rest of society. First let me ask you to consider this: Who in their right mind would engage in a lifestyle that ensured their social and legal illegitimacy by choice? Even after considering this question many still believe that homosexuals choose their lifestyle, for what reason I can’t imagine. Even so, aren’t we the “land of the free”? Apparently here all are free except for homosexuals. They need to be allowed (and guaranteed) the same legal rights as heterosexuals. They need to be able to see each other when one of them is dieing in a hospital bed. They need to be recognized, legally, for the important social unit they are.
If a priest, pastor, or other religious clergy wants to refuse to marry a homosexual couple, then that’s perfectly fine. They can even refuse to marry a heterosexual couple because they live together or in other ways show signs of impropriety. That is perfectly acceptable. However, if our legal system refuses to marry people, homosexual or otherwise, based on a religious belief, we are all in trouble and the implications for a religious state in the United States of America are enormous.
If you want to live in a religious society, move to a religious state, join a convent, monastery, or other religious order or group that fulfills this need. But leave secular society alone, we’re doing fine without the infusion of your religion and we need to keep America the melting pot it is for many reasons. Without a secular government that respects all kinds of belief and non-belief in a deity, or country will quickly become homogenous as those who don’t fit leave and the only new people that come are those who ascribe to the approved belief system. I guess it’s worked okay for Iran, but I don’t know how the US can handle it.
Let’s keep our country respectful of the documents on which it was founded. Let’s make this an accepting place for all, no matter what religion or sexual preference they have. We owe it to our future and our own stability as a nation.
I once had a woman ask me how a religious book could be nonfiction if its contents were not in the Bible, to which I replied “Ma’am there are some people who would say that the Bible is fiction.” And her absolute shock was shocking. Surely we all understand that our religion is not the only one, just as we understand that our skin color is not the only one. Please, America, open your closed minds and stop forcing your beliefs on all those who surround you. Please allow others to be as they are and as they need to be for themselves.