The Rev. Wayne Smith is misinformed
It is with some trepidation that I counter a beloved figure like the Rev. Wayne Smith. But while his arguments ring true with fundamentalists, his reasoning is outdated and critically misinformed.
Surely over the course of 2,000 years, we have learned something about human nature. The Bible was not informed by sociology, psychology and biology, all of which are critical in treating every person equally under God and the law.
A sense of right and wrong is determined primarily by upbringing and rationalized by emotion. It matures by experience and is tutored by laws and mores of society.
There is a progression of what is moral within the Bible itself. The church over the course of centuries decided which writings were deemed to be authentic.
It is interesting that Smith brings up slavery in relation to the silence of Jesus. While slavery was justified by religious belief for thousands of years, modern man has seen fit to abolish it.
Many devout believers know that we are all equal under God and are all entitled to baptism, marriage and the other responsibilities of life. Religious bodies espousing this position are grounded in conservative values but have a progressive social outlook and should not be mislabeled as "liberal."
Jesse P, Mark
Birth control also a sin?
The entire time that gay marriage has been on the front page, we have been bombarded with the religious justification that it is against God's word. We have read it in articles, in columns from a range of self-styled religious individuals including small-town county clerks to the Rev. Wayne Smith of mega-church fame.
For all their religious conviction not one of these people has stated why gay marriage is against their religion. The reason gay marriage and gay sex are condemned in the scriptures is that it is not procreational sex.
That is also the reason the Catholic Church is against birth control. Sex must be for one purpose and one purpose only: to make babies. If you ever have had sex for any other reason or used birth control, you committed the same sin as the homosexual.
If you are going to cite your religious convictions you need to actually understand them and follow them yourself.
Homosexuality is condemned and outlawed in the Muslim world, Russia and other equally enlightened places. Wouldn't it be better to just mind your own business, live your own life as you choose and let others do the same?
Do your job, clerks
I wonder why county court clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses on the basis of (Christian) religious freedom will still issue them to, for example, people who eat bacon, divorcées, past adulterers etc. After all, sin is sin.
If these people are allowed to neglect the functions they were elected for, how long will it be before marriage licenses are denied to Muslim couples or Jewish couples by that same reasoning?
One form of discrimination based on religious beliefs is really no different than any other. I'm married and really have no dog in this fight, but I do believe in the law of the land (which begs the question, why did the U.S. government ever get into the marriage business anyway?). I also believe in separation of church and state.
The solution to all this is simple: If a state employee refuses to do their job, they need to be fired.
Rights or prejudice?
Much is being said these days about gay marriage and the religious rights of those caught up in its turmoil. I fear that these so-called rights are instead prejudices.
There seems to be a false concern today that the "sanctity of marriage" (which only we straights should be enjoying) would somehow be endangered if allowed to be also enjoyed by gays.
So what is the sanctity of marriage? It's hard to say because, more and more, marriage is being passed over entirely by straights in favor of just living together. Additionally, many who do choose marriage violate those vows over and over. Divorce runs rampant.
Again, where is our true concern regarding the sanctity of marriage?
Those of us in the straight community seem to be making a mockery of marriage ourselves. Our concerns might better be placed on us straights and our responsibilities.
The desire of gays to marry legally is actually refreshing. To all who believe it's simply a choice to be gay: What would it take for you to invite the hatred and scorn of society by choosing to be gay?
Bible silent on marriage
So you want to follow stricter biblical guidelines on marriage? Good luck. The King James version of the Bible, in its various translations, has none.
There are many instructions on who you cannot have sexual relations with, but marriage was not a religious matter until the fifth century of the Christian era when the Roman church decided to make marriage the seventh sacrament.
During biblical times and long after, the question of the marriage partners was strictly a family affair. The people to be married might not even be consulted. Royalty, especially, were often given no choice. If one of the partners died, their family was expected to replace them with another relative.
The Supreme Court decision does not order a church marriage at all. A marriage license does not marry anyone, it simply permits people to marry. The person issuing the license is not marrying anybody, so there is no justification to refuse.
All the clerk is doing is delivering a document from the state allowing the parties to marry. It is not any of the clerk's business so long as the state laws declare the parties eligible. Just do the delivery job you are paid to do.
Love thy neighbor
I see more and more comments from "Christians" bashing gays, liberals and women's freedom of choice as being against the Bible and tradition. I was brought up as a Christian and was taught the two great commandments: 1. Love God with your whole heart and soul, and 2. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Today's vocal "Christians" seem to have forgotten the second commandment.