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Civil Rights piece

Posted by Mick on July 5, 2010 – 1:35 pm

Just so you know, this is going to be one of those pieces.  A little divisive, a lot rambling.  I apologize in advance for the rambling.

I’m extremely bothered by something, and I desperately want to talk about it.  But I don’t know how… everything I want to say is coming at me from 5 different angles.  I know what I want to say, I just don’t know how to say it.  It’s a touchy subject, one of the touchiest of subjects, really, as it delves into politics AND religion.

This has the potential to alienate people.  But I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t speak out.

I offer into evidence the Republican Party of Texas platform. The document that proclaims the core principles and beliefs of the party.

If someone came up to you at a party and said “So what are you folks all about?”, you’d hand him this.

There are several things in this document that I can get behind.  In spite of what many of you may think, I agree with a significant amount of conservative thought.  I identified myself as a Conservative for many years.

Let’s look at the preamble:  1. Strict adherence to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions. I’m not sure about the insistance on the word strict, but yes, I think we need to follow the Constitution.  2. Preserving American Freedom and Texas Sovereignty. This should really go without saying, I think.  3. Limiting the expanse of Government Power. I think I might actually believe this more than the National Party, what with the whole PATRIOT ACT thing.  I want you to file this one away for possible future reference.  4. The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, which should be protected from fertilization to natural death. This one makes me a bit uncomfortable.  When the government starts getting into morality, that’s when I want to refer back to Belief #3, Limiting the expanse of Government Power.  5. Personal Accountability and Responsibility. I’m all for it.  6. Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman. And now you’ve lost me.

There are so many places I want to go with this, it’s hard to know where to begin.  But first and foremost, my friends who are conservative, please don’t take this as an attack on you or your beliefs.  I think most of my friends don’t really believe this.  I know that some of my friends do believe this, and I respect your right to believe it.  But it hurts me, and I’d like to tell you why.

Let’s just go straight to the point.  The document clearly states that this is a spiritual matter.  Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God…

Now, I’m not about to go on a rant here about how religion should be kept out of government.  This isn’t an anti-religion rant.  I’m actually a man of faith.  However,  I firmly believe in the separation of church and state.  I believe in it for the same reason our founding fathers believed in it…

The government must be kept out of our religion.

Having the government legislating morality is all well and good, as long as it lines up with YOUR morality.  Having the government base it’s decisions on religious principles is fine and dandy… as long as it’s your religion.  But what happens when that’s no longer the case?  What happens when the government decides to legislate based on faith, and it contradicts your beliefs?    Remember, many of our first immigrants were fleeing religious persecution- they were leaving a government that told them how to believe.  A Christian nation, I believe.  But that’s another story, for another day.  My point is, I think we should be wary of a political party that wants to deny custody of children to someone because they are a sinner.

That’s what it really comes down to, people.  Even if you believe homosexuality is a sin, need I remind you that you’re a sinner, too?  What “sin” will they use to take away YOUR freedoms?

This is a civil rights issue.  Yesterday was July 4th, a day when all “patriotic” Americans celebrate the birth of “the land of the free”, a country founded on certain beliefs:  “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  As late as the 1960’s, this country still practiced formal, legislated discrimination against people because of their race, and while some fought valiantly to change those laws, others fought, and fought hard, to maintain that discrimination, because people who are not like us must therefor be less than us.  Some of the final laws that had to be struck down as unconstitutional were the anti-miscegenation laws.  These were laws that forbid marriage between people of different races, primarily aimed at preventing African-Americans from marrying whites.  Here’s a quote from the 1912 Congressional Record “Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy…“.  Let’s compare that to this quote, pulled from the Republican Party of Texas platform:  “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

Before you align yourself with this destructive thought pattern, perhaps you should ask yourself… how proud would you be to walk the streets today and tell people you stood against allowing African-Americans to vote, to go to college, or to marry outside their race?  These were popular platforms 100 years ago.  Most of look back on those times with shame.  In 50 years, we will look back on today with the same shame.

Some people are gay.  That’s not going to change.  Some of them are your neighbors.  Some of them are your friends.  Some of them are your family. Yes, some of them are your family.  You, yes YOU, have gay family members.  If you don’t know of any, perhaps it’s because they don’t trust you enough to tell you?  Perhaps they think your love is conditional.  Is it?  You have gay family members.  Denying them the right to marry, and the benefits that marriage entails, is immoral.  It’s un-Christian.  And…

It’s downright un-American.  Some will tell you that the religious right is using this issue in an attempt to gain further control of the American political process.  They’re wrong.  The right is using this issue to gain further control of the religious.  Fear that.  They are corrupting your Christianity.

I’m typically against being a single issue voter.  In this case, I think it’s a moral obligation.  Make a stand.  Tell your Representative, tell your Senator, tell your candidate… this aggression must not stand.  Take a pledge, I will no longer be a party to bigotry, I will no longer be a party to discrimination, I will refuse to vote for any candidate that opposes gay marriage.

Be good to each other.

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