28 March 2008

Proud to be an American - no, really....

Recently I received an email from a family member with one of those attachments...you know the ones - emotionally charged pictures of American history, historic tragedies like 9/11, and commentary on the 'war on Terror' usually with a good country music song like 'Proud to be an American' or something like that as a backdrop. The presentation included comments like - let's keep 'Him' in our constitution and our schools, etc. It illicited many strong feelings in me as I watched it.

It's good to remember tragic history and to feel patriotic.

I had to ask my family member, though...what were her true thoughts regarding keeping 'christian traditions' embedded in our civil law?

As an American, I strongly believe that dissent IS patriotic...it's our right as Americans to question the government. As both a lesbian AND a Christian, I have difficulty with the whole 'Keep Him in our Constitution & schools' thing.

Legislating based on religious beliefs is a very large part of why I don't have equal protection and am denied access to the more than 1000 rights, benefits and privileges that are associated with marriage. This concerns me, because my God, the one who created me just as I am, loves me, redeems me and sustains me, is being used to justify this blatant disregard of my basic, fundamental rights. I have been told, personally, on more than one occassion by people professing to be christians that I cannot be gay and christian because my 'lifestyle' is 'sick and deviant' and God condemns me for it, that no matter how honestly and faithfully I live my life, I am going to hell because I 'choose' to live in direct rebellion of 'God's Word,' and that my christian church isn't a true church because they are open and affirming of all people. I'm fortunate to have such a strong faith in God that these words have little effect on me anymore. My faith is and always will be stronger than bigotry. The important thing I have learned about religion is that it should NEVER be used to make laws or deny equal rights.

While current legislation regarding equal rights for all is slowly changing, there is a vast 'christian' movement who continue to thwart this progress any way they can, including spreading vicious and horrible lies about gay and lesbian people (just google OK state rep Sally Kern, as an example) and introducing legislation that opposes equal rights for no other reason than their religious beliefs. Many of the horrific tragedies reviewed in the presentation my family member sent me are glaring examples of religious extremist behavior, and should serve as a reminder of what can happen when a country does not recognize freedom of (and from) religion. Religion is a personal thing, and should remain so. It should never be used to dictate civil law.

What do you think? It's a topic very close to my heart, and I love discussing it with people.

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