Another letter to the editor…

February 28, 2014

Can I be honest? I’m getting really sick of having to write these kinds of letters. But I’ll keep doing it until the day when my gay and lesbian friends and relatives feel safe and at home in this country.

(Below is a “Letter to the Editor” sent to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.)

What is religion for?

The word “religion” comes from the Latin root, ‘religare,’ which means to re-bind. The purpose of any religion, then, should be to strengthen the ties between people and their God and between people and their brothers and sisters. As we strengthen our ties to God, we deepen our faith, find strength and guidance in our living, and experience the deep peace and unconditional love that has traditionally been labelled ‘grace.’ As we strengthen our ties to one another, we practice compassion, kindness, and civility. We learn to love our enemies, embrace those who are different, and forgive those who have sinned against us. In fact, I, like many of the straight allies who advocate for Gay and Lesbian equality, am moved to do so by my faith.

I mention all of this because as an ordained minister, a “Christophile,” and a human being, I am deeply offended by the so-called “Freedom of Religion” act and some of the tactics and terms being used by its defenders. The biblical case against homosexuality is shaky at best, rife with incorrect translations and verses taken out of context. Even if one chooses to believe otherwise, there is simply no way to make the case that the bible teaches discrimination. Nowhere does it say, “Thou shalt not do business with people whose sexuality makes you uncomfortable.”

If people are advocating for the right to discriminate, I suppose they may do so. However, it would be more accurate to call the proposed legislation the “Freedom of Discrimination” act, or perhaps “Freedom to be Uncivil.” What happens between a person and their God is private. What happens in our bedroom is also private. In the public sphere, our national values are clear: all people are created equal, and deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness.

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