Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Interesting Article I Found

This article from the Leaf Chronicle brings up some of the fears the religious right has regarding same sex marriage. It's view is that some of the fears are not completely unfounded. In particular the article asks:
Nevertheless, difficult questions remain. Although most legal experts agree that the First Amendment clearly prohibits the state from coercing religious leaders to perform same-sex marriages, they also agree that legal recognition of gay marriage will inevitably lead to clashes between same-sex couples and some religious businesses and social service agencies.

To what extent, if any, should the law protect the right of conscientious objectors to refuse service to gay couples? And how far may government go in requiring religious institutions to accommodate same-sex marriage?

While we all agree that nobody wants to force presbyters to perform same sex blessings, what of organizations such as christian adoption services, food pantries, hospitals and other organizations? How will they be affected?

I raise this issue with a heavy heart, because as many know, I unequivocably support same sex marriage and full inclusion of LGBT men and women into our church and society.

The article goes on to state:

Answering these questions will not be easy. But people on all sides of the debate have a vested interest in finding ways to ensure protection for religious liberty in the process of legalizing same-sex marriage. Religious people and institutions, of course, want to maintain their freedom to preach and practice their faith in places where gay marriage is legal.

While I disagree wholeheartedly with men like Ronnie Floyd (a megachurch pastor in NW Arkansas) spewing hatred and intolerance from his pulpit, I am very leary of taking away his right to do it. As a Navy Veteran I served to protect both his right to say his poisonous words as well as my own right to rail against his message. As much as I hate hearing these words, I also know that it is his right to say them, and to maintain true equality I must be willing to defend his right to speak with as much force as I defend IT's right to marry and be included. Silencing men like him will not stop their message, but making sure the facts are out there to counter them might.

To quote the end of this article:

Gay marriage is here. And religious objections to gay marriage are not likely to evaporate anytime soon. Our best option — the one that most serves the common good — is to work together to find the right balance between equality and religious freedom, two of our nation's most cherished ideals.

So how do we do that? How do we strike a compromise when both sides believe they are completely in the right? What is the balance? If the church or organization accepts government funds via the "faith based initiatives", can the government force them to comply? These are serious issues that MUST be addresed if full inclusion is to be achieved. The question I want to leave with is how... how do we reach a solution that addresses everyone's fears and protects everyone's rights? Any ideas?


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Define concience...


Jase said...

LOL exactly, Goeran!

One of the right wing folk (Can't remember the name) said last week that same gender marriage is a fait accompli, and all the issue is good for is to raise funds for the fundamentalists.

IT said...

If you take taxpayer money, you can't discriminate against the taxpayer.

IMHO, of course.