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Homosexuality,Religious Freedom, and Why you Should Care
I wish to begin this article by saying that this is not another impassioned debate about whether homosexuality is right or wrong. If your desire was to use spiteful words to argue an endless case,please go elsewhere. There are already PLENTY of articles for that. No,this article is about the repercussions of the new "Love is Love" mindset sweeping our country. Allow me to say that I am a Christian and ,as such, I believe in the Bible. Here's a list of things that does NOT mean: 1. That I hate or even slightly dislike homosexual people or any minority for that matter. 2. That I am a judgmental hypocrite. or 3. That I am an uppity, pretentious "bigot". We all know what the Bible does and doesn't say on the subject so I feel no need to divulge that any further. As I said before, this article is not about that. This article is about religious freedom..or lack thereof..and why I believe the discrepancies between the two groups (homosexuals and Christians) have been drastically overexaggerated. I believe it is this overexaggeration that is causing the rights to religious freedom explicity layed out in the First Amendment to be infringed upon more and more with each passing day. If you want to hear the objective, candid viewpoint on the new LGBT laws from a full-blooded Christian,read on.
I can't continue this article without saying sorry to anyone who has been hurtfully marginalized by the Christian community. The true calling of Christians is to love. That is not to say that Love causes all of our doctrines and convictions to disappear. It simply means that we are to love first and then communicate our values in a respectful,caring manner. As Jesus did. Unfortunately, for most Christians this is not the case and I have seen far too many Christians spewing words of hatred and falling to an embarrassing level of juvenile arguments. I have been horrified by some of the absolutely gross statements made by some Christians against the LGBT community and I sincerely apologize for their foolishness. I know that some claiming to be Christians have caused those who live lives contrary to what we believe to feel discriminated against and "less than" and that is NEVER okay. I'm hoping that this article causes a stirring in both the mindsets of Christians as much as homosexuals in the way we treat those who live and believe differently than us.
The Uncomfortable Conflict
I am a Christian. Not a homophobe. Or a bigot. I think these labels are used somewhat ignorantly by many people on both sides of the struggle so let's use Dictionary,com for the real definitions, shall we? Phobia: "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something"- seeing as how I don't run away screaming whenever I see a homosexual couple, I highly doubt this qualifies as an accurate description of my disposition towards them. Also, I have no problem with LGBT people- I know quite a few and I'm sure they would agree that I do not display any "aversion" to their presence in my life. Now let's get to the other word that's so often used to describe our ideals. Bigot: "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions." This one I actually find rather laughable. As I conceded earlier, SOME Christians have displayed a hateful attitude toward the LGBT community and that is a terrible tragedy. However, many of us Christians do not share this same spiteful view. Just as the LGBT community does not appreciate being unfairly labeled or judged based on their lifestyle, we, as Christians, do not appreciate it either. To be completely honest, it seems rather hypocritical that a group of people who are so against stereotyping an entire community based on a few extremists seems rather quick to do that exact thing to others.
The Heart of the Matter
My main purpose for writing this article is simple: the government siding with the LGBT community has caused a lot of backlash for the Religious community. I not only see this as a huge problem, but also as a rather unnecessary one. Many Christians in the wedding business,especially pastors, have/will be sued for upholding his or her belief system. Now this has been viewed as a hate crime against a group of people and I strongly challenge you not to do so. This is not a declaration of intolerance. Rather it is our way of carrying out what we believe. I have no problem with LGBT people getting married. That is your choice and there are plenty of pastors who are more than willing to officiate that type of wedding. That's why I don't see the necessity in prosecuting those pastors who believe differently and have made the personal choice to not officiate those weddings. I don't understand what's so unreasonable about us to respectfully follow our beliefs. Logically, it sounds a lot easier to me to just find one of the many who will do it instead of going through the long process of suing someone for their last penny. I would honestly have no problem if a LGBT organization denied me service because they felt it violated their values. I would simply go somewhere that did provide the service-not send them to prison. I think the heart of the matter is more based on undue spite between the two groups rather than an ongoing desire for ALL Christians everywhere to compromise our beliefs. Why does it matter so much? Why can't we support the LGBT community without deferring to it? What makes one group's ideals more important than another's? And who gets to decide that? Why can't we just respect your wishes and you respect ours? We're all adults here. As a Christian, I often feel like we are now the ones being marginalized and made to feel "less than." We're not asking for you to agree with us or our way of life. We simply want tolerance. The EXACT same thing you want. Our disagreement is not meant as a threat in any way. I wholeheartedly believe that we all can and should live peacefully beside one another. We're all human. We're all made of the same stuff. We can all show love and respect without having to change our worldviews. It's up to you. And me. What will your decision be?