Archive for March 7, 2005

Pushy Evangelicals, Gay Marriage, Condoms, and other prosaic topics.

I’m really getting tired of these pushy Evangelical Christians shoving their version of Christianity down the throats of Americans. Every day I hear about how Government needs to start taking moral stances against television, movies, music, culture, etc.; how we need to put prayer back in schools; how we need statues of the Ten Commandments in courthouses; basically how we need to put Christ in every nook and cranny of life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Roman Catholic. I have nothing against Christ at all, but he never said I had to live my entire life in some specific pattern, and that fialing to do so would mean eternal damnation. I recall that accepting Christ and God was the requisite, and living in a generally moral way was all that was needed. No one said I have to go to a specific church, hold my hands up when I pray so everyone sees how holy I am, and mention Christ in every conversation. I go to my church, where I pray in a private manner without public demonstrations. I don’t need Hollywood or television networks watching out for my morality, or the morality of my children. That’s my job, not movie makers, TV producers, and certainly not the government’s job. When you mix Religion and Government, the result is always bad, which is why the Founding Fathers tried to keep them separate.

The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excercise thereof;”…

This means that religion is not within the purview of government at all. No religion nor expression thereof shall be officially endorsed, provided for, nor prohibited. An example is that the government can neither establish a moment of prayer in schools, nor can it prohibit students from engaging in one of their own will. But this isn’t good enough for Evangelicals, no, they want to create a moment of prayer in chools. They say those who don’t want to participate don’t have to participate. While this is true, it’s that way already. Kids are welcome to say a prayer in school, and are equally free not to. I did when I was in school. I said grace before every lunch meal (ok, not EVERY lunch, but I tried), and I didn’t need the school to create a special time for me to do this.

Every religion has flaws, and every religion at one point or another infringes basic human rights of some group. These days, the most common groups are gays and those in need of abortions. My own Church says gays are immoral, and so is abortion, but I disagree. I see no moral reason why gay people should not be able to enter into a legally recognized, and legally protected relationship. Fine, don’t call it marriage. Frankly, marriage is fundamentally a religion issue and shouldn’t be legislated; all government should do is give civil unions, and leave marriages to the desired Church of the participants. Gay unions don’t have to be religious at all, so the Church should butt out. And abortion can be a medically necessary procedure, so any church not willing to take that into account in their stances against abortion is being inhumane. Personally, unless there’s a threat to the mother’s life, or it’s a case of rape or incest, I’m against abortion. There are millions of couple who would love to have a baby and can’t, and young babies are so easily adopted that it’s very hard to actually find one (there’s plenty of older kids though, so go adopt one, they need love too), so it’s a very viable option. But I’m never going to be pregnant, and I’m not so arrogant to think I can decide what’s best for half the population in a situation I’ll never face. That’s criminally egotistical.

Teen pregnancy is a crisis in small-town America and among poor socioeconomic groups. Evangelicals say preaching abstinence only is the way to go. Guess what? It doesn’t work. It didn’t work in the 40’s and 50’s, it didn’t work in the 1800’s, it didn’t work 500 years ago. Teens have sex, and we can’t stop them. Even in repressive societies there are kids who find ways to have sex. The only ways to cut down on teen pregnancy are education about birth control, or manditory contraception procedures, and the latter isn’t politically viable. It’s time these Evangelicals faced reality that the general population isn’t perfect, won’t be, and can’t be bullied into being so. Hell, even they aren’t perfect. I’ve known kids of Evengelicals who would up parents in high school, and we’ve all heard about the infidelity of high profile evangelicals.

Christ preached tolerance of reality and human faults, and also gave us a way to try to improve ourselves through Him. But He never said that anyone had the right to force those teachings on others. We must come to Him on our own, not at the tip of a spear, or through to government mandate. Anyone who preaches that way is in direct conflict with the Christ they claim to love. I think the Salvation Army and many Catholic missionaries get it right. They offer help to those in need, and they also offer the teachings of Christ, but you aren’t obligated to take either. If you need help, it’s there with no strings, and if you want Christ, they can help you there too. That’s true Christianity.

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