“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” — Thomas Jefferson
The mind of man… freedom of expression… our country was founded on the principle that, so long as a man does not injure his neighbor, he may live the life that he believes he was meant to. We understood that the government’s role is not to create God’s kingdom, but rather to provide an environment in which He is free to work. We are a group of good people of all faiths, creeds, and belief systems, with each man free to follow his God-given Spirit in whatever way He decides. Our founders recognized that, throughout history, laws, rules, and regulations attempting to define a “good” nature, those which stigmatize a man’s act as evil, even when it does nothing to hurt a neighbor and the man believes it to be right, these types of laws do not work to make a civilization better. Instead, they divide a population into opposing groups, cause man to argue over what path is “really” God’s, and lead to strife, angst, and discrimination.
“United we stand, divided we fall.” – Aesop
Governments which try to define an individual by legislating personal choice make a society more subject to government… more enslaved… less free. Defining “right” thinking and behavior is what all tyrants use to impose their will and what all majorities use to oppress. It is what religious zealots use to try to centralize power, manipulate political leaders, and wage holy war… it is what the Taliban is attempting today. Government is not meant to have the power to define an individual’s personal life choices as good or bad – this belief formed our very Nation.
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
As our great country has developed into a more perfect union, we have had our difficulties. But through it all, we’ve always succeeded after we decided to simply subscribe to the axiom called the “Golden Rule.” In the process, we have obtained equal rights for all, guaranteed it forever into our DNA as an Amendment in our constitution, implemented it into our legislation, and teach it within our communities.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
With this backdrop, when yours truly looks at the issue of “Gay Rights” from a political perspective, I am amazed we are even discussing it. In my humble opinion, our government should have absolutely nothing to do with the issue of defining marriage, and “gay” rights should be viewed as simply rights. Our government’s perspective: “One person is an individual, two are not… unless they claim and file to be in union, then the government will consider them as joined.” Period.
“The way to silence religious disputes is to take no notice of them.” – Thomas Jefferson
Churches can “define marriage” if they want to, your government does not. That is because you are free to go to a church of your liking, but you are not free from your government. This is the way “America” was, is, and must always remain. People have the same rights under government. Equal rights for gay and lesbians, just like equal rights for black and white, or male and female, is quite simply mandatory.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
To my fellow straight and God-following Americans, let me also offer this: “One nation under God” does not mean that we want our government to define God’s nation, any more than it means that we want our government to define God’s religion – for who can define that but God? It is why we created a secular nation. When our Creator created each of us, He reserved the right to talk to each of us differently. I believe our great tasks in this world are simply to love Him and our neighbor. We only need ask ourselves, “if I was Samaritan, or black, or female, or gay… if I was different than the majority, the powerful, the status quo and I lived in this world, how would I want to be treated?” Do that my friends, and we can’t go wrong.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12
Since the beginning, the church has continuously had to evaluate its positions, pray, and yes, even change them when the written Law was explicit. In Acts 11-15, the church battles over circumcision. God’s written text is explicit, the Prophets leave no doubt in their writings, but the people of the day see good people, who follow their God given Spirit, who are not circumcised and don’t feel they need to be. They believe God is telling them that He loves them as they are, that they need not conform, that the written texts do not apply in their particular situation. And the church is divided. Additionally, the church argued over whether certain foods should be allowed to be traded and consumed, as God’s law explicitly says they are unclean. Yes, since the beginning, the church has always debated over what it takes to be a good man, a God follower, a part of the community.
It is Peter himself that explains to the church that it is ok for you to believe that these foods are unclean, yet pray next to a brother who eats them. And on that note, he asks the men who partake in eating these foods, himself included, not to flaunt their beliefs to those who don’t share them. Rather, he asks them to be discrete out of respect to those good people around them… he asks them not to push their views onto the others, but to humbly help to keep the church together. He explains that it is ok for you to believe that God’s sign requires a man to be circumcised, yet pray with a brother who is not circumcised.
Similarly, since our beginning, our nation has battled over the role of women, sodomy laws, and gay rights this day. We argue whether a good man would use alcohol, caffeine, or marijuana and enact and repeal government regulations regarding them. I know I’m not Peter, but I do think we should follow his lead. We should work to create a community of tolerance, allow men to rely on their God given Spirit for their compass, and keep the judging of man’s personal choices out of our government’s hands. In any case, whatever your personal views on this issue, I support your right to have them.
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson
Yours in Faith for a better America and a better World.