Over the past few weeks I have probably written 4 drafts of this blog….all of which I’ve ended up deleting. It’s very uncharacteristic for me, but I’ve been struggling with my words. More than that I’ve been struggling to understand what my actual thoughts are and I was apprehensive and fearful that those thoughts may not be understood, or even worse, that it may be clearly understood and just extremely unpopular. For that reason I would write…and write…and delete and delete. I’ve thought to attempt another however; my thoughts on gay marriage continue to come. The issue is constantly in the headlines and last week Chick-Fil-A’s founder felt the need to express his anti-gay marriage views publically once again showing how chaotic this country can get with religion and pop culture clash. It finally came to me recently that the reason I have been struggling with the issue of whether or not I support gay marriage is because I have been approaching it wrong. I have been taking a very all or nothing approach when really there are two very separate lines of thinking that should take place. Keep reading (please) so I can explain.
Chick-Fil-A has announced that the company’s views on gay marriage are founded in Christian values and that he (the founder) does not believe that gay people in America should be given the opportunity to get married. Additionally, he feels that we are inviting the wrath of God upon our nation (long pause) ….or something to that effect. His opinion has sparked much controversy and the country has divided and taken sides almost equally. Former republican nominee Rick Santorum has backed Chick-fil-a tweeting that he was enjoying a dinner there with his sons, while the City of Chicago has halted plans to open one near the town’s Logan Square stating “Chick-fil-a’s view s are not the same as the views of Chicago”. Much has been made of this announcement and as gay marriage is a hot topic issue in the 2012 Presidential Campaign I believe much more is to come.
At the center of the issue are the religious teachings surrounding traditional marriage and what the bible depicts as a Christian family. The Christian view are those that believe that marriage should stay the way God depicts it in the Bible and that the Bible shows the way God intended his people to be. This view obviously believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. Clashing with this is the increasingly popular view among society that marriage is between any two persons who wish to be married i.e. man to a man, man to a woman, woman to a woman. I have thought through this issue 1,000 times and finally I know where I stand. You see I would sit at church and listen to Pastor Paul preach about biblical marriage and I think…YES…AMEN… This is what I want for myself and praise God for the wonderful blessing and gift of marriage. I realize I totally 100% believe in the biblical depiction of marriage. Don’t I? I mean….leaving church I definitely do, but then I see the everyday people in my life….family members, close friends…that are gay…and therein lies the issue. I love these people…they are great people….some I have known were gay since before they did. They did nothing wrong. How on Earth can I back denying rights to a class of people… I can’t. This has been the struggle.
Then recently it came to me. What on Earth does a Religious view have to do with a Secular Law? I have tried to wrap my mind around this but perhaps my generation is too groomed with the separation of church and state and acceptance and coexisting that we just can’t see things the way our grandparents do. I grew up with a girl who is now a conservative Republican named Missy. I clearly am not a conservative Republican. As I have noted many times am a left leaning moderate. Yet and still with our vastly different views on things we are always able to see and understand the others views on life and issues. I’m by no means saying she feels the way I do on this issue…I actually have no clue what she thinks, but nonetheless…We joke that if we ran the world together it would be fixed in 48 hours. Lol. You see if she and I can understand the way our world works and listen to each other and find a common ground of fairness, why is it so difficult for everyone else?
I am a Christian woman. I believe in God, I attend church, I love and respect Pastor Paul Clines at First United Methodist Church and I wholeheartedly attempt to adhere to what he teaches me about the bible and who and what God wants me to be. That being said, many things that I believe morally are not against the law if those rules are broken. For instance, I was not married when I had my daughter. Religiously, I am immoral and 1,000 years ago could have been killed for my actions, denied all my rights and had my life taken and probably have my child killed as well. But we as a society over time decided that we were not going to adhere to that. And thank God for that (no pun intended). You see while my actions may not be moral they are not illegal. I have had no rights taken from me and no rights taken from my daughter. We have done away with all laws in that regard because they are oppressive. MY sin is between me and my God and that was something I had to sort through and come to terms with, pray about etc. It had nothing to do with the opinions of the outside world or what anyone thought of me.
To me this makes so much more sense. I can believe as a Christian woman that marriage is between a man and a woman and in my own life adhere to that. At the same time I can believe in and support gay people as they fight for equality. Gay marriage should be legal in the United States. Being gay is not what I want for myself and it is not what I want for my daughter. I also don’t want my daughter to have a child out of wed-lock but it is not something for the government to criminalize or use to deny people civil rights to live their life as they choose. The separation of church and state is a MUST for a prosperous nation. I believe strongly in that. Who you want to marry is a personal decision and if you make that decision you live with it and comes to terms with it in your own life and on your own time. The same way I did when I had my child unmarried.
Another example…. There was a time when marrying someone of another race was illegal. There are people in this world who still do not believe in interracial marriage. The Freedom of Speech gives them every right to believe it, say it, scream it, write it. Feel free! Because though some people don’t want interracial marriage in their own life it does not bar the rest of us from marrying who we please no matter what race they are if we do so please. We do not have any less legal of a marriage and not a single different civil right.
You can believe in your house and in your religion what you want but that does not equate to keeping others from believing in and attaining their own rights and civil liberties.
If my daughter grows up to be gay I will not love her any less nor do I think less of anyone who is gay. All people should be treated civilly and the SAME. The same way I do not think less of those who have children unmarried. It is not my place to decide who someone can love or how they spend their life.
This country was founded on the basis of freedom. Just as I am free to marry a man and be a Christian and eat where I want and say what I want the next person is free to think I’m dumb for it. They can be Muslim, or Hindu, black, white, gay or atheist or anything they want to be. No one has to listen to me and I don’t have to listen to others. Tolerance and coexistence are the basic principles of the United States of America. People escape oppressive nations to come here….to be free. This nation needs to look back at its past and realize that we have prospered when we leave people alone and let them live as they want to live. You don’t have to agree with others decisions or run your life in that way. No one cares what you think! But with that being said it works the other way too. I’m not mad at Chick-Fil-A. In my personal life I agree with them. They can think what they want. Say what they want. The market will determine their outcome. The difference in the United States from other countries is that if we don’t like something a company does we can stop spending our money there. Hit them in the pockets. No one has to adhere to what they think or fund their initiatives.
My biggest issue with the religious argument regarding gay marriage is that Marriage today does not have the same benefits as marriage did at its creation. Marriage today means health insurance, death benefits, Veteran benefits, inheritance, rights of survivorship, social security benefits and a number of other federal benefits that have been created and enacted by MAN not by God. So if a man and a man love each other and they wish to be married and acquire their own little bundle of rights then they should be free to do so. It does not make me less of a Christian to believe in that and believe in the bible at the same time.
Jesus dined with all people so to think that my God loves a gay person any less than a woman with child out of wedlock makes no sense to me.
We are all sinners and we all have our own issues to sort out in our own relationships with God. Oppressing the rights of others because we don’t believe in the things they believe in is not what this country or my religion teaches. And like it or not…those are my inside thoughts!