Friday, November 21, 2003 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
CHURCH AND STATE
Jana Bommersbach had a great article in Phoenix Magazine a month ago. My favorite columnist notes that "Seven of 16 leadership positions in the Arizona Legislature are held by Mormons, including the top spots in each chamber. How significant is it?"
Jana's article asks if the Mormon influence in our State Legislature shows a Mormon agenda in voting. Some say yea, some nay. She raises a question affecting gays and lesbians everywhere, especially on the National level. Can our politicians vote without religious bias on issues that support minority views that conflict with their religious teachings? The largest of these issues is same-sex marriage.
I believe every American who understands the value of human freedoms will admit that all people should be able to marry the person of their choice and both partners should gain all benefits and rights that their union deserves. It's simply unAmerican to think otherwise, no matter the traditions concerning marriage that any church holds.
The Pope has put out a call to all Catholic lawmakers to do everything in their power to oppose same-sex marriage. The American Council of Bishops ratified the Pope's call. Before John Kennedy was elected president, there was always a fear that the Pope would try to exert his influnce on American politicians if given the chance. This has never happened before, but it's happening now. How will our Catholic politicians handle themselves in light of this decree? Will they vote for upholding Constitutional equality or as their church directed?
My largest concern is the Christian right. These politicians have shown a proclivity to vote with their religious beliefs rather than for American freedoms. They rant about the sanctity of marriage while gold diggers still marry 70 year old men hoping to cash in when the old buzzard kicks the bucket. The tell us marriage has always been between a man and a woman when the Bible clearly shows that polygamy existed for hundreds of years and was even condoned by God. They tell us that gays will hurt marriage, without explaining how and by overlooking the spousal abuse so rampant in our society that safe homes are set up for victims across the nation. They say it's for the benefit of the children yet in every county in every state in America, Child Protection Services case loads are so heavy that the staff can't handle them. The killing of newborn children is so high that laws have been passed so young mothers can drop off their unwanted young babies at fire houses or hospitals, no questions asked, instead of having to kill them. Mothers and fathers are killing their children at an alarming rate in America, yet they tell us how great children have it in heterosexual married homes. They tell us how the nation holds marriage to be an unassailable institution yet the divorce rate climbs every year and is now well over 50%. Fifty year old executives leave their wife and children to marry girls twenty years younger. Some people divorce and remarry many many times. Hollywood stars marry and remarry and Americans follow their exploits in magazines sold in supermarkets across the country. Some conservative ministers will not marry divorced people in their church, but I don't hear a call for a constitutional amendment abolishing divorce. Why? Tell me, which is the larger threat to heterosexual marriage today, gay marriage or divorce? Honest Americans will not buy the arguments of conservative hypocrites.
Jana knows where the blame belongs. Arizona has a lazy electorate where most eligible voters aren't registered and those that are don't make it to the polls. This is true throughout our country. The only way to stop political tyranny is at the ballot box. Young people especially, who know that gay marriage poses no threat to anyone need to get out and vote. They need to educate themselves on the candidates views and vote accordingly. Many are under the impression that their vote doesn't count. I beg to differ. Local and state level elections are often decided by single digit numbers. And I shouldn't have to remind anyone of what happened for Bush in Florida during the last presidential election. They only way your vote doesn't count is if you refuse to cast it.
Get to know the candidates. If you want something you have to work for it. Gays and lesbians are being elected. They are as equipped to represent their constituents as anyone. We can overcome religious and secular bias at the polls. That's where change starts. It was true in the 60s when unequal rights for blacks were challenged and overturned. Its still true today.
Register and vote. Their God, your God, my God, nor anyone else's God has any business involved with the American government.
©2003 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
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