Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Hawkeye State, Seeing Clearly

Back on April 3rd, my home state of Iowa passed a law saying that gay and lesbian people have the right to be married. Now, I must admit first off that even though my cousin Kate and her partner Trish were literally at the tip of the spear for that legal fight, I didn't follow it too closely. Life was happening here, and in all reality I figured it would all go the way of proposition (h)8 out in California.

But then something amazing happened. Iowa is going to let all people have the right to be married!

What? I thought. What happened to those self-righteous twits who always seem to be able to jam their opinions onto everyone else? Where was the ever-present homophobia in the system? What about all those protesters with the signs saying that if gays are allowed to be married it would ruin the institution? Where, oh where was the fear mongering!?!

Could it be possible that common sense actually prevailed?

It has taken me this long to really get even a part of my brain around it. Because, you see, common sense rarely survives in bureaucracy. Common sense is often somehow misplaced the higher one seeks it in an institution. Common sense is often the first victim in a fight between religion and, well, almost anything else.

I am very proud to be a Christian. It took me a long time, and many years of study, to finally believe. But there are times when I wonder if many Christians understand what being a Christian means. As a group, we should be the most accepting, most loving and most forgiving people one could meet. But in reality, we can tend to be quite elitist. Most "Christian" communities I've experienced would probably exclude Jesus if He came to their church or organization.

As a Christian, I believe in the sacredness of the institution of marriage. That two people joined by God become something quite different than the two individuals that stood before Him just moments before. But I don't believe God sees gender. Just like I don't believe he sees color or nationality or even religion. God is bigger than all of that. God is bigger than the two that stand before Him. Bigger than the officiant who heads the service. Bigger than any single organized religion. And WAY bigger than any who cling to bias and hatred in His name. Wanna use the Lord's name in vain? Use it to espouse your homophobia. (Or your racism)

I know some gay and lesbian couples. Quite a few actually. When I stopped to think about just how many, I was a little surprised. (Mainly because I don't really care if they are gay or not. It just doesn't hit my radar) I wondered if I had them as actual neighbors, living right next door to me and my family, if somehow that would threaten my marriage, or somehow corrupt my children.

But what I know for a fact is that nobody can threaten my marriage except me or my wife. And there are about a billion things far more dangerous than a loving couple living next door that could corrupt my kids. And while there are some narrow minded folks out there that would condemn them for their "lifestyle", I know that I would much rather have Kate and Trish living next door to me than the guy who chops down my lilacs and sprays weed killer in my yard. Their "lifestyle" is about as innocuous as mine. Probably more so.

So congratulations Common Sense! You scored a victory in Iowa. May many more states follow. Congratulations Kate and Trish and Mike and Brett and Jake and Kevin and all of my other friends and acquaintances who just happen to be gay. 'Bout time you were given your rights. Rights that I swore to protect and defend as a US Marine.
Here's a pie graph for those who need an illustration

If you are someone who shudders to think about two people of the same gender being married, someone who believes that "those type of sinners" have no place in society... Well, just try and remember two things. First, I'm pretty sure the Bible says someplace something about judge not lest ye be judged. Second, Jesus hung out with the undesirables of the time. Prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, the poor. He loved them all the same and accepted them for who they were. So I ask you... What would Jesus do?

More Later

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