Yes, I’m labeling myself a Christian. That may surprise some people… but if you’ve known me for a while, you know my heart yearns to grow stronger in my faith while my mind pushes back and says, “Be logical.” This post isn’t about my struggle with faith; it’s about my struggle with organized religion and the ultra-conservative beliefs that destroy lives and ruin families full of love.
I love logic. If it doesn’t make sense, I try to figure it out and find the solution, much like a geometric proof. I can’t solve every equation, but gay marriage seems easy to me. Let’s get logical about gay marriage.
North Carolina just passed Amendment 1 of their Constitution stating that no same-sex couples can get married or join in civil union. In other words, they have no legal rights as a couple or family. What does that mean? Everything they do together is for naught. It doesn’t matter. It never happened — at least according to the legal system.
I challenge you to watch this video — it amassed 400,000 views in two days — and see how this inequality can destroy a person:
If that video doesn’t make you angry, sad or at least tug on your heartstrings, there’s probably no reason for you to read the rest of this article. I will probably have a hard time getting through to you, but I still feel compelled to try. Please keep reading even if you hate the idea of equal rights for same-sex couples. I promise this is something worth thinking about.
Separation of Church and State
My country advocates freedom of religion… but only if it’s my religion. I don’t care what you believe because I know I’m right and you’re wrong. Since that’s the truth, my opinion matters more than yours and I’m going to do everything possible to limit your passions through any political/legal means necessary.
Wow. No, that’s not a real quote; I feel like that easily defines our nation. Have we forgotten our heritage and why this nation exists?
The pilgrims initially came to America to escape a corrupt political system heavily influence by the Church of England. In those days, the church played a pivotal role in the prosecution and persecution of those who challenged false teachings from corrupt officials. At that time, it seemed like escape was the only option and it sparked the pilgrimage to the “land of the free” where church and state were supposed to be separate entities.
Four hundred years have passed but we still can’t separate church from state.
We’ve never truly had religious freedom. Any government with a dominant religion tends to rule by the majority’s beliefs. We’re a Christian nation. There are many people in the USA who believe something different or in nothing at all… but the fact remains: Christianity governs the US.
I don’t think government can exist without religious influence. Humanity doesn’t understand what is right without knowing what is wrong; we define morality through belief, culture and religion. I won’t get into a philosophical argument here, but I’d like to pose a question: would we really be able to distinguish right from wrong if there wasn’t an external influence to shape our morals as we age?
Liberal or conservative, our current political practices are slowly destroying this nation. Just look at this last round of elected officials: everyone believes they are right and so few are willing to compromise on a single argument. Government isn’t about one extreme dominating the other, it’s about educated (theoretically) people getting together to work through issues and formulate the best possible solution for the people of the United States of America. Have we seen that happen lately? Nope.
Equality isn’t about religion
From my point of view, there are two interested parties in the marriage equality debate:
- Same-sex couples who only hope for recognition and to gain access to the legal privileges that recognition brings.
- The religious right who are afraid of what happens when government allows same-sex couples to be legally married.
Christians define marriage as a biblical unity between a man and a woman in holy matrimony. So biblically, a God-sanctioned marriage can never exist between a same-sex couple. In my eyes, that’s not debatable. That also means that the government should never force a church to marry a same-sex couple since it goes directly against biblical teachings. Expanding further, we should allow any denomination or church to do as they see fit: if the Presbyterian Church wants same-sex marriages… let that happen. If the United Methodist Church doesn’t want to marry Johnny and Joe, why should they?
I don’t believe anyone has a legal right to marriage through the Christian Church. I’ve known pastors who refuse to marry a couple based on their beliefs, intentions or even the circumstances surrounding the ceremony. Without any questions, a justice of the peace performs ceremonies at the courthouse. The legal result is the same, with or without religion.
Many people define a civil union as a marriage without religious influence: all the same legalities with no religious opposition. What’s wrong with that? Why isn’t that already legal nationwide? It’s obvious that the Church doesn’t want to marry same-sex couples… everyone understands that. To me, there’s no reason the religious right should be standing between same-sex couples and their right to legal equality.
Religion does not define our laws. To quote the first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That’s pretty damning for North Carolina. The banning of civil unions was solely a religiously-loaded, political decision that flies in the face of our nation’s Constitution. Why else would you ban same-sex unions? Does it scare them or make them feel gross when homosexuals kiss in public? I think it’s time they got over it.
Old people vote
Many retirees have nothing better to do and they want their voices heard. As our country ages, we become a more conservative nation that’s afraid of change. Old people don’t like change; I don’t even like change and I’m only 26. My generation appears to see same-sex equality favorably. Add a couple years to my age and you may see a dramatically different opinion. The median age for the US (as of the 2010 census) is 37 and it’s getting higher every year. Birth rates are low and the baby boomer population is living longer than expected thanks to modern science. It should come as no surprise that any major change to the system sees a strong resistance.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it
The system is broken, we should really try to fix it soon… but there are more people out there who see no need to change it. Those people are destroying the lives of same-sex couples one ballot at a time. Amendment 1 will affect health care to pre-existing same-sex couples and compromise protections for those living together. Shawn and Tom (from the video above) had a great life together. The story isn’t just about Shawn’s legal rights to his partner… it’s about much more than that. It’s about love, equality, respect, hope, change – the list goes on. It’s disgusting that Tom’s family would push their own son away; it’s obvious that their ignorance would never change.
Every person may have a different opinion on right and wrong but I hope that everyone agrees on this: pushing someone away is the wrong choice. Bullying, prejudice, intolerance – there’s no place for that in my life and I won’t allow any ignorant bastard the opportunity to hurt my friends, family or even a stranger when I see it take place. I will not tolerate ignorance as the norm. No matter how hard we try, we cannot rid this nation of ignorance… but we can change the system. We should fix this problem without the religious influence that is bullying our nation. Let the churches do what they want but give the people their legal rights and let them love whomever they choose.
Equal is logical
I am by no means saying that I believe the Church must welcome homosexuality. If I were a pastor, my beliefs would not allow me to join same-sex couples in holy matrimony. If I were a government official, I’d fight with every ounce of my body to ensure that all people had the same legal rights. Churches and denominations must define their beliefs within their own government. The general Christian stance on homosexuality should have absolutely nothing to do with equal rights.