4 Nov 2009

American churches heat up civil rights war

Yesterday, voters in the US state of Maine were asked at the ballot whether they want to accept a gay marriage law enacted by legislation earlier this year. 53% percent of voters decided to reject it.

This is the second time that an already passed law to open marriage for gays and lesbians has been brought to a public vote: Exactly one year ago, Californians struck down gay marriage with the successful referendum called Proposition 8.

Majority vs. Minority

In Maine and California, campaigns were heavy on both sides of the issue, trying to win over voters (see my post about Prop 8 last year). However, gay marriage supporters only seem to question the legitimacy of a public vote on minority rights after the loss at the ballot. Why is the majority allowed to vote on a minority right in the first place? Today, I saw the same outcry on Twitter that I saw last year in November:if you put it up to a vote of the people, we'd have slavery again".

So, is the pure egoism of humans that hinders equality? Do people only think about their own right and reject political measures that help strangers? I reckon a big part is being lead there…

Churches playing politics

Where did we see this last time? Ah yes, the medieval ages in Europe and forced conversions to Christianity under death threat are one example of an organised majority oppressing a minority. Or in South Africa were the Dutch Reformed Church declared their members “the chosen” race. All those are examples of a group of people organising themselves to oppress others, backed by pseudo-religious reasons. The same thing is happening in America today, where churches claim to have a monopoly over marriage and its definition.

Among others, the Mormon church was a heavy campaigner against gay marriage, although Mormons just make up 2% of the Californian population they were successful. In Maine, Catholic churches (especially Portland’s diocese) manipulate people into thinking that it’s OK to take away rights from same-sex couples (with campaigns that draw their money from the offertory)

American Christians have got to understand that forcing your own beliefs on others will only damage them. I myself am an active Christian, but I am ashamed of what so-called Christians are doing onto others. They take away basic rights, topple gay families even with children, they forget their every ethic and compassion out of pure egoism and ignorance.

Dividing society

Gay rights activist Cleve Jones rightly pointed out that this is a struggle for equality under the law for gay people. Blaming churches for forgetting how important equality is, Jones said:

This is a pluralistic society. We have one constitution, one Bill of Rights, and we have only one class of citizenship.

Churches fighting against this are juggling with the harmony of a diverse society. They are attacking other segments of society and draw anger at them. These churches are hurting the reputation of religion:
Various studies show that more and more young people turn their back to religion because of the churches’ hard-line politics (see Putnam/Campbell’s “American Grace”)

No comments: