Religious Freedom and Same-Sex Lifestyle: A Musing on Harmony
Musing on Harmony
My musing on the issue of harmony between those seeking religious freedom and those pursuing a same-sex lifestyle is motivated by my reading of SRF’s Perspective on Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, particularly this excerpt:
. . . Paramahansa Yogananda did write spiritual marriage vows, which are integral with his teachings on the metaphysical objective of marriage. SRF ministers perform only the wedding ceremony originated by our founder, which is specifically for the union of a man and a woman. However, there is no requirement that SRF members who wish to marry do so in an SRF ceremony. (my emphasis)
Pictures, Pastries, and Pretty Posies
Photographers, wedding cake bakers, and florists who do not wish to employ their art in celebration of a same-sex wedding, based on their understanding of their religious tenets have every right to make that exclusionary decision without government inference and without societal harassment.
That choice of those artists does not prevent same-sex couples from celebrating a wedding if they so choose. Society can remain harmonious, however, if both sides, the artists and the same-sex partners, respect each other's decisions. There are other photographers, wedding cake bakers, and florists, who will happily perform the desired service for the same-sex partners; therefore, there can be no complaint that the same-sex wedding cannot benefit from such artistic service.
It is furthermore incumbent upon the religion-influenced artists to continue to demonstrate that they respect the rights of the same-sex partners and individuals by continuing to sell their other baked goods, photographic services, and flowers to them.
A Daunting Societal Task
A wider issue comes into play when social engineers via government intrusion attempt to quash religious freedom in order to accommodate same-sex individuals: the attempt to bring the acts of same sex into the realm of valid, moral behavior. Only time can perform that daunting task. If, in fact, the sexual orientation of the same-sexed can eventually be proven to benefit society as a whole, it will become part of the cultural tradition and no longer require debate about the issue.
Apart from the pandering done by the political class to assure a voting block, most members of society want to accept all of its members into a law-abiding, peaceful culture. Most religious people know in their hearts that loving their neighbor as they love themselves includes loving and respecting all who may not think and act as they do, including the same-sexed, bisexual, pansexual, queer, and the transgendered, as well as the myriad other groups that exist or may, in future, come into existence, whether based on sexuality, gender, or some other human feature.
Sweet Freedom and the Golden Rule
Individual human beings possess a penchant for coming up with new ways to stand out from the herd, or to express deep-rooted, though novel, urges. With the exception of sheer criminality—lying, stealing, murdering—that impinges on the lives of others, those urges need to be respected and made a part of society in the most balanced and harmonious fashion.
While freedom of speech and freedom of religion are basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, new ways of squelching the rights of others will continue to be fomented as long as people of ill-will continue to press their animosity.
The only way to assure equanimity is through adherence to the Golden Rule: the same-sexed do not want to be shamed and/or mandated against by law for their orientation, and the religious do not want to be shamed and/or mandated against by law into violating the tenets of their belief system.
There is no shame in choosing a different florist because the one first chosen retains rights to religious scruples. And the florist must refrain from expressing as shameful the decision of same-sex partners who choose a different marriage style from the traditional one; individuals are capable of quietly adhering to religious tenets without denigrating others in the process.
It's as simple as that. Oh, yes, I am aware that individuals on either side of the issue will continue to operate in bad faith. They have their own reward, do they not?
© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes