This past year, Maine passed a law allowing homosexuals to marry (each other.) So, of course, there’s a measure on this November’s ballot asking whether or not we, as Mainers, want to keep this law on the books.
Once again, U.S. citizens are being given the power to take away another U.S. citizen’s rights. Not Deny – TAKE AWAY a right they already have – a right that all non-gays have enjoyed since before the beginning of this country. It’s enough to make me sick.
I used to be a Christian. I went to church, attended my college’s Church of Christ student center. I met some wonderful people there, read and studied the Bible and tried to be the best Christian I knew how.
While I was in the Church I no doubt frustrated many of my fellow church goers. I never understood why we, as Christians, had to stick our noses into the business of the general public. I always saw this meddling as attempts at Mass conversion which is a futile gesture. Conversion should be a personal journey and should never be mandated by law.
Therefore, babysitting the country at large isn’t only futile, it’s simply stupid. Forcing your own particular beliefs on someone who is unwilling to listen is not going to convert them – it’s only going to breed resentment and make witnessing even more difficult.
There was a time when I thought homosexuality was a sin. My best friend was gay and I worried for his soul until it almost drove me nuts. But never, not once, did I want to deny him any legal rights. My concern for him was a personal one. I didn’t want anyone to be gay but I felt it wasn’t my place to tell anyone outside of the Church what they should do. If that person wanted to be a Christian then and only then would I say anything to them about their lifestyle – that was the only time I felt I really had any right to do so.
The church I was attending desperately wanted to legislate from the pulpit. The elders encouraged us to witness with our vote – to try to force our morals on others with legislation. This was one of the things that drove me from the Church. (I stopped attending church well before I ‘lost’ my faith.)
I love and respect the principles on which the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were based and knew that to worship as I wanted, those principles had to be upheld. It was very painful to me that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ refused to understand this. One of my friends had the audacity to tell me that the first amendment said ‘Freedom OF Religion’ no ‘Freedom FROM Religion.’ The fact that he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – grasp that ‘Freedom of Religion’ meant both was astounding to me.
Without the freedom that the Constitution grants us there would be no way for a church to truly grow. Nothing as transcendent as religion can be forced upon a person and be truly respected.
Separation of Church and State is not an evil thing – it protects everyone, including the churches. If you can’t see that then maybe it’s time to realize there’s a world out there past your church building’s fellowship hall. What if your beliefs aren’t the ones chosen to mix into the state? I doubt my Church of Christ friends would appreciate being told that their children would have to start every school day with a catholic prayer.
Living in the United States is truly a gift; one I know that many believe is from God. But living here means you have to acknowledge and deal with the fact that there are people in this country that do not agree with you and never will. These people have just as much right to live the life they want as any other group that doesn’t constitute a physical threat.
I suppose many Christians would argue that if gays are allowed to marry that THEIR rights would be violated, but that is something I have never understood. Who does or does not marry has no effect on your relationships. If it does then there’s something wrong with you, not a pair of strangers who happened to fall in love.
And that’s why I’m voting to make sure that those different from me have the same rights that I do – and that I would vote this way even if I were still attending church. This is a free country and everyone should have the same rights as others despite differing opinions, mindsets and even intelligence.
For those of you planning to vote Yes on 1 or on any issue that’s even remotely related because you feel something ‘just isn’t right’ maybe you should stop and consider that there might be something that you do that others feel ‘just isn’t right.’ Life may not be innately fair but it’s our duty as Americans to try to make it as fair as it possibly can be for everyone.