First, let me acknowledge that this is a difficult post to write. The issues are so amazingly intertwined, personal and varied, The written word can be so difficult to convey accurate meaning. But, I think there has been a point that may have been overlooked and I would like to talk about it.
Second, let me say I think I might have voted “no” in North Carolina. I am not certain that I would have, but I think the inclusion of civil unions was an over reach. I also think that if the goal is to “defend marriage” then we should probably vote on some new divorce laws. The ones we have are far more destructive to the sanctity of marriage. You can read my full thoughts here (and I would highly suggest you do so if you plan on trolling or flaming the comments – thanks).
Third, yep, I am Catholic. I hear a whole bunch of folks just dismiss my whole opinion. And therein lies a big part of the problem (and my point). But, I will get to that. Instead, I would like to reiterate my thoughts on laws and religion for those of you who did not read the above linked post.
The more often we come to the coffee shop, the more often you will hear that idea – my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making. I have spent an awful lot of time on an awful lot of subjects applying that code.
When I woke up yesterday, North Carolina was getting slammed for the vote which resulted in the 61%-39% passage of their marriage law defining the union, to include civil unions, as an institution reserved for a man and a woman. They are the 30th state to do so. Not the first. Not the minority. I find that curious.
They are then blasted along the interwebs for hating homosexuals, inciting domestic violence, being southern, religious nutjobs, and a variety of other things. And my thoughts ponder more.
The President comes out and gives a beautiful speech where he discusses the issue. He eloquently states support for gay marriage and indicates that this newly held position is a result of his “evolution”.
And the record scratches.
There lies the crux of the problem, in my opinion. I would wager that society at large (the majority in a majority of states), could care less about limiting the rights of homosexuals or anybody else for that matter. But quite frankly, Christian (78% of the US population in 2009) conservatives (40% versus 35% moderate, 21% liberal in 2009) are a bit freaked out. Note: I included the percentages because my freaked out self is tired of hearing how in the minority I am and how my fringe beliefs are ridiculous
I would bet that if you sat down most folks that voted “yes” on Tuesday and asked them if gay couples should be able to buy a home together, visit each other in the hospital, serve as each others beneficiary and decision maker, be together until the day they die, raise children, and all the other characteristics that make folks “married”, they would say “sure”.
So why have the majority of people in the majority of states decided to vote against it? Because we don’t trust it.
And by “it” I am NOT talking about gay marriage. I am talking about respect to religious liberty. And we don’t trust it because we have already been taken to the races and we know which dog wins – and it ain’t ours.
I appreciate freedom of religion. (Side note: “of” and “from” are two different words – I understand the difference). I respect religious tolerance. However, society at some point has decided that “tolerance” means that I have to agree, support, and acquiesce to all other religious beliefs and can expect to be berated as a hateful beast when I hope for the same treatment.
Prayer at any event, nativities in the park, Ten Commandment replicas, public declarations of faith, “Merry Christmas” at a retail outlet, school children reciting the pledge or learning God Bless America – ridiculed, litigated, and trashed.
Admonishments of “stay out of my bedroom, it’s none of your business!” heralded far and wide. Until it is time to pay for abortions, birth control, day care, welfare, or medical care. Guess where the tax payers and the church are expected to be then?
“Keep your religion to yourself!” Until a priest denies someone communion, a pastor admonishes the behavior of a parishioner, or clergy within a church decides who can fill what roles in their organization. Then that church become fair game to everyone else. The practices and opinions of the church are expected to bend and form to public opinion – the same public that denounces its right to interact with it…huh?
So, while I will stop short of aligning with the vote, I will say I can understand why. We don’t want to be in the public bedroom, but we are consistently dragged into it. And, quite frankly, this, like so many other things, is none of my business. And many will agree. But, like so many other things before, it will be made our business. We will once agree to live and let live and later find that action, yet again, unreciprocated.
Makes me think that’s what happens when folks continue to live in the extreme and think that to be the norm. This ain’t Jersey Shore and not everything is a picket line. I have long been done allowing the media to convince me of that. The rights of all people will be better served when being a politician ceases to be a six or seven-figure income, when extremist on both sides are seen for what they are – extremist who have their own agenda, when rational people talk in rational ways and refuse to allow differences to negate respect and love.
But hey, who I am? I need to go evolve…