Freedom on the Fourth?
But I wept also because we here at the blog are all wondering now, "Is it still 'the banner of the free'?" We have felt this to certain degrees awhile now, and more so today, that not all of us in this nation will be allowed by some others to have our same freedoms anymore. We now feel that some of us may be persecuted for the simple defense of what we still believe is everyone's right in this nation: freedom of religion. It's already happened, elsewhere as well as here. Forcing someone to go against their true belief in their legitimate religion—by a punishing action or by a damning coercion—is akin to forcing someone to behave straight when they're decidedly gay. Neither is right to do. And the former is codified in our founding documents as the polar opposite of what this flag, this nation, represented for our first 239 years.
And yet, isn't it what Jesus Christ Himself said could happen: "people [will] insult you, persecute you, [and] prevail against you in the public square, because of me."
"Amen." So be it.
We're also not the only ones who are unnerved by this development because of its eery similarity to the question of abortion:
"With a nod to the states and those millennia of tradition, [Supreme Court Justice] Kennedy and his liberal cohorts did exactly what the Burger court did in Roe v. Wade: silenced the voices of the opposition, bound the hands that would have cast votes in a referendum, put blindfolds on those who see dangers for people of faith.How similar that sounds to "What you are going to do, do quickly."
"Because that is what they have to do."
But we're torn.
Torn, because of what our faith is for us, what our religious freedom means to us and to all those who value theirs as well—and what our friends and family who are, or were, gay, mean to us too.
I've lost two gay friends, one a high school classmate and dear friend, one a co-worker. These great guys lived out their gay lifestyle, but it killed them before they were 40.
Another long-ago coworker once shared with me she was lesbian. A sister of one of my best friends is lesbian; a brother of another best friend is gay. Two beloved recent/current coworkers and friends are gay. Two of my son's former college buddies are gay, and I am overjoyed to give them big bear hugs and catch up with them at alumni sporting events whenever we're all in town! It's like no time has passed at all since we first met. Emily and Joy have similar friendships and family members among the LGBT community.
One of my most favorite comedians of all time is self-described transvestite Eddie Izzard.
We love them all. Dearly. And we would never stop loving them, no matter what.
We don't "hate" LGBT folks. We don't "hate" anyone. And it is most certainly not ever our place, nor anyone's, Christian or not, to judge anyone else. We believe that's God's department.
We do hate what some false Christians have done to harshly maltreat those in the LGBT community. (Any community for that matter.) We hate that with a passion. We have hated that a long time.
We just fear now that "turnabout is fairplay" persecution could be visited on those of us (even some gays and lesbians included) who, for the right, personal reasons, believe that it is at odds with the salvation of our eternal souls, to engage in LGBT activity.
Two wrongs don't make a right, they say.
All three of us also know full well we are among the least ones to speak of faith or not abiding by it. We did a grievously awful thing, when we aborted our own children. I aborted what would have been my only daughter. It took 20 years to stop denying my shame and remorse, and now I have to live with the pain and grief of my horrific act the rest of my life. It's why we keep doing this blog as a safe place for those also feeling grief over their abortions to find the various recovery and support options, and to know they are by no means alone in their remorse.
And since I believe in a necessary purification after death in the state of being called "Purgatory", I will most definitely be first in line for spending some time there, if I am able to even be in a position to gain Heaven eventually. I will need all the prayers of the living I can get, then, I know far too well.
But now that five of the nine justices on the Supreme Court have decided, as the court did with the issue of abortion in 1973, that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states—and this is a mere one justice less than those four who legally, intelligently disagreed—we fear that the United States Of America could go the way of Canada, and Spain, and even Washington DC, New Jersey, Georgia, California, Massachusetts, some to the point of requiring teaching children, even those home-schooled, lessons denouncing the religious beliefs held by some parents as "heterosexism."
We hope and pray that we who still believe we have a freedom of religion, not just our freedom of worship, will not be persecuted by some for the simple, unharming fact of believing or defending our faith.
A refresher for those who have the mistaken idea that "freedom of religion" equals just private "freedom of worship:"
- The first line of the First Amendment says,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
"The Free Exercise Clause reserves the right of American citizens to accept any religious belief and engage in religious rituals. The wording in the free-exercise clauses of state constitutions that religious “[o]pinion, expression of opinion, and practice were all expressly protected” by the Free Exercise Clause. The clause protects not just religious beliefs but actions made on behalf of those beliefs. More importantly, the wording of state constitutions suggest that “free exercise envisions religiously compelled exemptions from at least some generally applicable laws.” The Free Exercise Clause not only protects religious belief and expression; it also seems to allow for violation of laws, as long as that violation is made for religious reasons." [emphasis this writer]
- Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed by the U.S.A. in 1948, states:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." [emphasis this writer]