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Gay Marriage Rites and Civil Rights vs. The Religious Right

A Commentary

The media is agog with President’s Obama’s public stance on same sex-marriage rights. Opinions and running commentary on why he made his announcement now, to whether he was genuine or indulging in posturing for political gain, have run the gamut.

Before Wednesday’s declaration that he supports Gay and Lesbian having the right to legally marry, the president was accused of straddling the fence: claiming to support civil unions and civil rights for all, yet remaining mum on gay marriage.

Well, the ambivalence was removed yesterday but now there are a new set of accusations. Why did he do it now? Does he really mean it or was he 'outed' or pressured by Vice President Biden’s televised interview? Biden said forcefully and unequivocally, that he has always supported equal marriage rights for all Americans. Or was it the furor over North Carolina’s Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage voted into law on Tuesday?

Critics have also moved on to his potential political gain or loss, depending on who is rendering the opinion. Meanwhile the religion Right continues to hold fast their stance that same- sex marriage is wrong—a sin or an abomination unto their God. Unnatural and a serious threat to traditional marriage. Sick and perverted.

But is marriage a legal act or a religious one? Christians swear on their Bible that it is sanctioned by God. So can a couple get married in their church without first getting the legal license to do so? Which comes first?

No one can get married legally in this country without first applying for a marriage license. That is a legal document, not a religious rite. Folks continue to confuse the two. A couple can get married without the religious ceremony but cannot have a religious ceremony and by-pass the legal mandatory requirements.

Moreover, not every citizen is religious. The Founding Fathers wanted separation of Church and State for they foresaw the penchant for abuse. Wanted to avoid one dominant religion from dictating legislation. There are numerous religions which differ in their beliefs and customs. Who decides whose God is right? The Bible is open to interpretation and I have heard numerous versions of that interpretation. Trust me, I know from whence I speak. As a child and teen, I attended enough church to last me 2 lifetimes. 4 times a week and twice on Sundays. I could quote scriptures and passages in the Christian Bible to rival a theologian. I even won a writing contest in my church Pentecostal contest at 11 years old.

But at around 16 years old when I graduated from high school, my inquiring mind wanted to know and some things just weren’t adding up for me. Suffice it to say my religious parents were not happy with the new independent thinking me.

The religious Right preach this strict adherence to the Bible but I am always fascinated by the way they pick and choose which parts to live by, which parts to quote to bolster their ideological beliefs and which parts to completely ignore or discard. They say the Bible forbids homosexuality but the Holy Book also sanctions slavery, mentioning it several times in both the Old and New Testament like in Timothy, Deuteronomy and Colossians. If you take the Bible literally for some parts, then don’t you have to accept all as such? The Ten Commandments have been broken so many times form devout Christians like The Newt. Remember “though shalt not commit adultery?” How about “an eye for an eye” still practiced in some Muslim countries and the stoning to death of women in the name of God or Allah? We cringe at such practices, calling them barbaric, so why are some of us still clinging to religious customs that discriminate and marginalize in the name of God?

But then again, if you subscribe to an ideology that believes the universe was literally created in six days and civilization is just a few thousand years old, selective morality shouldn’t surprise me.

If you condense many religious beliefs into one sounde-bite, God would be a maniacal, homicidal, genocidal, jealous, bigoted, prejudicial, sexist, judgemental, insecure, impatient, omnipotent male with an anger problem.

See the absurdity?