I was just reading an article in this week’s Seven Days about the gay marriage movement.
In Vermont, “We’ve taken a breather from the civil-union debate and are now ready to open the conversation again,” says Beth Robinson, chair of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force.
Now, this is an issue that I rarely talk about and if memory serves have never blogged about. I just don’t care that much about it.
I am of the school of thought that the best way to get people to live by God’s Word is for them to first begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. Such a relationship fundamentally changes people’s hearts and changes in their lives inevitably follow. It is not through legislation or through condemnation that people will change. In fact, I think that only serves to push people away from Christ.
Besides my religious view, I’m also just not interested in dictating to people how they should live.
Unfortunately, the fallout of gay marriage in Massachusetts, whereby a religious organization was being forced by law to betray its beliefs, has caused me to have a slight change of heart on this matter.
There is no right more important in my eyes than freedom of religion. There is nothing else that matters to me more on this earth than my right to worship my God in the manner that I so choose, in all aspects of my life, and all manifestations thereof. Call me a religious kook, but when the government starts to infringe on that right, I have a problem.
Let me backtrack a little because you might have missed this story.
Massachusetts has a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, as do most states. In the past, religious adoption agencies could still deny adoptions to gay couples by restricting adoption to married couples.
Enter gay marriage. Now all adoption agencies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must allow gay married couples to adopt, even if it goes against their religious convictions.
As a result, the Catholic Charities of Boston has closed the door on its adoption agency – an agency which is well known for finding homes for the most difficult to place children, including older children, sibling groups, and children with disabilities.
Both sides, left and right, have used this issue to accuse the other side of putting their agenda ahead of the needs of these children, although I hardly call staying true to a nearly 2000 year old religious tradition “an agenda.”
The fact is, this is not a case of gay couples being denied an opportunity to adopt. There is no shortage of adoption agencies in the state of Massachusetts willing and even eager to adopt to gay couples. This is about making the Catholic Church change its stance on homosexuality. By extension, it is an attempt to use the law to “prohibit the free exercise” of religion. Last time I checked, the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from this state intrusion.
I could ignore this because I am not Catholic. I could ignore this because I do not necessarily oppose gay marriage and certainly do not support the Marriage Amendment. But I won’t ignore it when the government starts dictating the beliefs of a religious group. I cannot ignore the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment being thrown out the window.
The worst part of this whole situation is how the marriage movement is losing an ally by pushing too hard. I was once on their side in the name of freedom. I am now moving away from them in the name of freedom.
This is no longer about the freedom to marry. It has become (to some) about manipulating the law to oppress any and all opposition even at the expense of the First Amendment. And that is not an issue I can remain silent on.
(The post title is a quote from this article.)