I keep reading Christians demanding their “rights”. I keep seeing Christians saying they have a right to refuse service or be against Marriage Equality because it’s “against my religion”. I AM a Christian. I’ll play along for a minute…
The Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Given that as background, here goes. The “equal protection” bit says that all laws must apply equally to all citizens. If we are to pass a law that says that a person or business can discriminate based on our “religious convictions”, that law has to apply equally. Christianity is not the only religion in the USA. The door has been opened to any person of any faith using the same precedent. In more blunt terms, do you want Sharia Law applied to Christians doing business with Muslims? Do you want other faiths being able to tell you what you may eat or drink?
It truly is both that broad and simple. “…but we passed a law” Sure you did. Now, you get to deal with the unintended consequences of that.
Again, I am a Christian. I understand religious objections. I also think that the protections that our Constitution provides are secular and allow me to have whatever private bias I might have. I think the secular nature of that document protects me from having to follow the strictures of a faith that I do not share or understand. I want Civil Rights kept apart from religion. If you want to prohibit Marriage Equality or alcohol or anything else within your faith and church, I am all for your doing that. If you want, as a business or in your public life, to have the right to discriminate, I am entirely in disagreement with you.
Marriage can be a religious service. It can also be a civil service. What both have in common are that there are various things granted to married couples that are not granted to un-married couples. Those include tax breaks and the rights to make medical/end of life decisions for the spouse. If we deny a portion of the population the right to get married because of our “religion”, we have denied “equal protection”.
If you happen to read this and are Christian and against Marriage Equality, I hope you don’t get your way. *editorial, I’m straight and really don’t understand same-sex attraction, either* What I do understand is that Constitutional Law is based on precedent. I do not want a country that sets the precedent you want. I do not want to be discriminated against because of someone else’s religion. Try thinking with your head and not with your heart, please. Try using a bit of self-interest and wanting the Constitution to protect equally and not selectively. Your marriage and your rights are not threatened by Marriage Equality. They are threatened by an attitude that allows for discrimination.