A Twist of Citrus

I know many of the people who are friends with me on Facebook are conservative and disagree with me theologically over issues such as marriage equality and whether or not the federal government should be involved in health care.

I am willing to agree to disagree over many, many issues that are close to my heart, but I am not willing to agree to disagree over the issue of marriage equality. In MD, there is a proposition up for vote which would allow gay men and women to publicly declare in the civil sphere what they already live out in their daily lives.

I know the word "marriage" is difficult to for many Christians to separate from the religious institution, but the truth is that in America, we don't require people to marry in a religious institution. We already maintain a defacto separation between civil marriage and religious marriage. This is why it is legal for folks who of two different religions or no religion at all are able to marry.

Saying that, there are many denominations within Christianity who have come to a biblically-based position, guided by the holy spirit, which does affirm same-gender marriage. Perhaps it is easy to write them off as "not real Christians", but I would implore you to stop for a moment and consider that this may be a position of pride. An issue of "I'm right because am too prideful to admit I could be mistaken."

I am not saying you are definitely mistaken. By all means, to say this with certainty would make me guilty of the same mistake I ask for you to consider of yourself. We can know Truth. Theologically, you can take comfort that you are right and I am wrong. But you cannot, in this great country of ours, force those beliefs on me. You cannot tell me that your religious views should shape the civil sphere. In the civil sphere we ask everyone to base their consideration of the law on the principle of ecumenical-ism. That everyone's ideas and values carry equal weight. This leaves us with a burden of proof we would not normally subject to in our personal lives.

Laws must be based on principles which are not rooted in religious dogma, but on the science, logic and real-life evidence that drive those religious rules. We understand, for example, that in the old testament, that religious purity rules regarding the consumption of food were a major leap forward in terms of hygiene and would have helped maintain the health of the tribes of Israel. Nowadays, we Christians disregard these rules, as Jesus is, himself, the fulfillment of The Law, and we do not need to worry as much about the hygiene of the food we eat. [Matthew 5:17] Imagine, if you will, if we did not require this. Would you be okay with being subject to Sharia Law as a Christian because the majority of people in the country happened to be Muslim? This is not ecumenical.

The Bible also says it is OK to make this separation in the civil sphere. This is why, as Christians, we are expected to follow the laws of the country we live in, so long as they do not interfere with our own relationship with God. [Matthew 22:21]

Please don't limit the civil rights of gays and lesbians because of your personal religious beliefs. Many gays and lesbians have been in committed relationships which have already lasted longer than the majority of heterosexual marriages. I think it would greatly benefit society to recognize those commitments and the commitment of these couples to raising their children. We should protect these relationships legally, and the only way to do that effectively under the current system of Civil Marriage is to grant full civil marriage equality to same sex couples.

Your comments and questions are welcome. I love all of you even through our disagreements on these important issues. I will not love anyone less because they vote against Proposition 6, but I will say that your failure to support it will damage our relationship and my respect for you. It is because I love you that I will not tolerate what I believe to be a very damaging position against gays and lesbian's civil equality and liberty.

I welcome any questions or comments about this.

#religion #politics #marriageequality #proposition6 #Maryland