clearly there are many things in this world that i don’t understand. but, the one that is on my mind tonight is something that americans like to call “the separation of church and state”. as i understand it, this phrase has something to do with making sure that people are not discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, and making sure that personal religious beliefs do not get written into our laws. why is this important? because if we were able to force our religious beliefs into our government, then we would not be allowing people the right of religious freedom – one of the reasons many of our ancestors came to the colonies. they were feeling persecuted and forced to abide by the into the anglican church/british government establishment, unable to worship & live as they felt called to worship & live. america’s early residents and founders did not want that to happen in this newly formed country, so “the separation of church and state” was born. christians can be christians – and whatever kind of christian they want to be. muslims, jews, scientologists, agnostics, wiccans… all can worship (or not) how, whenever, and wherever they want without fear of being persecuted. and the government can be run by any of those people as well, for not one religion is better than the other in the eyes of the state. not one group of people of faith can decide what is morally right or wrong for the entire country. that’s what churches are for. one can choose which church (mosque, synagogue, etc.) one wants to be a part of. there one meets with people who have the same beliefs and ideas. and perhaps we meet like-minded people all across our state & country, but we can be proud of that, thanks to civil rights, that not one of us is better than the other. we are free, equal, and all given the same basic rights. or are we? and when did it become ok for us to begin to force our individual religious beliefs into our political decisions. of course our personal religious beliefs inform and affect our political stances… but we cannot legislate our one faith over another. and we cannot use one faith over another to be a reference for laws. no. not in our government. not on the house or senate floor. not in the middle of our schools. for as soon as we do, then we’ve lost one of our core beliefs as american: freedom of religion.
now, i am one that most definitely thinks that the institution of the church (as i am a christian) is both necessary and a pain in the ass. i want people to come together for worship, to build up a community of faith, to grow spiritually, to experience grace, and to serve others. but, i do not believe that my government has to tell me to do that. nor do i believe that my government has to tell everyone to believe like me, live like me, or love who i love. i do not need the government to legislate what is morally right and wrong. my hope is that all of us (of whatever religion & belief) , and especially individuals who make up the government use their hearts and minds to make decisions for our states and our nation which reflect values of justice, equality, peace, and love.
but, right now, as i write this, the government in my home state, north carolina, is debating an anti-LGBT amendment. the authors and supporters of the bill/amendment want to be sure to secure the language in the NC constitution so that same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships are all banned. but, guess what? same-sex marriages and civil unions are already illegal in nc. so, basically, lawmakers they want to write discrimination INTO the constitution. and folks, this is 2011. the states struggled with discrimination and civil rights back in the 60s. it’s 50 years later, and there are people in NC who want to go backwards in time, restricting civil rights and making it law as to who one can love. and what are they basing this amendment on? their personal faith.
equality supporters are not asking every church, synagogue, mosque or person of faith to endorse and conduct same sex marriages. but, we are asking… no we are begging, our state to not take away our civil rights = the rights that all humans have simply because they are humans. we are only asking for our marriages to be recognized, or to be able to go to a courthouse & get married, or have a contract drawn up so we can visit our loved one in the hospital. do you know that when i filed my NC tax return this past year, i had to file as a single person? let me stress again, we are not asking for every person to endorse, condone, or conduct same sex marriages. we are not asking for legislation that says that churches have to marry everybody. we are simply asking to not be treated as second-class citizens, not worthy of all civil rights.
but, all of what we are asking for is not even close to what we are thinking about today. that’s future stuff. today, what we are crying out for is not legislation saying that we can get married in a courthouse. we are crying out to our state to please NOT ADD more discrimination to NC’s constitution. please, do not try to legislate your religious beliefs on all of us. do not use the Bible as the foundation of your argument to ban all same sex unions. pleeeease do not add an amendment that adds discrimination into our state laws. who i love does not hurt you, your faith, or your marriage. who i love makes me a better person, not a person to be feard, hated, and bullied. i promise. you do not have to be afraid of me or my marriage.
however, the debate continues. i’ve written letters. i’ve sent emails. i’ve been to a rally. i’ve signed petitions. and i’ve posted blogs. i’ve done what i can from over here in sweden. and one day, i hope that my love and i can visit NC and hold our heads high, proud of the state which we call one of our homes. right now, though, all i can do is wait & hope.
** news update at 12:15 am (sweden)/6:15 pm (NC)**
“The North Carolina House of Representatives passed today, 75-42, a proposed anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment that would ban marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other relationship recognition for same-sex couples.” Now the amendment goes to the Senate for debate.
how can this be happening? nc, you are better than this. i am embarrassed and ashamed. still, i cling to hope.
peace & love. for all.