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2277Re: [gaykingdom] Please check your religion at the door

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  • Michael P. Gronseth
    Oct 18, 2005
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      Let me toss in my perspective on this issue.

      The First Amendment of the US Constitution forbids the establishment
      of a national church. The Fourteenth Amendment extends that to the
      states. Much debate and interpretation over the last 200+ years has
      been found in the nature of what exactly is "establishment of
      religion"? Is it like in the country of England where the Sovereign
      as Head of State is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of
      England? Does supporting worthwhile charities of all kinds through
      grants and other taxpayer funding, regardless of the theology or lack
      thereof constitute establishment? (1)

      What I see by many in the gay community is a completely anti-
      Christian backlash. Yes, our oppressors often cite religious beliefs
      as a justification for continued discrimination, but other
      justifications exist. Yet there are many, many good Christian people
      out there who are supportive of their gay brothers and sisters. The
      (Episcopal) Diocese of New Hampshire popularly elected a non-celibate
      gay man as its bishop. That election was supported by the Episcopal
      Church of the USA, the American "branch" of Anglicanism. Even the
      Rev. Jerry Falwell, who in the past has been a virulent critic of the
      gay community and homosexuality in general, has acknowledged that
      housing and employment are not "special" rights to be denied to gay
      Americans. To paint all people of faith with the same brush is to
      treat them in a similar fashion like gay men and women have been
      treated by a subset of the faithful. In other words, not all
      Christians (or Jews, or Muslims or etc.) are like the Rev. Fred
      Phelps of www.godhatesfags.com.

      No government can be completely secular. Personal faith informs the
      actions of individuals as much as personal experience and education.
      They say here in the US, "you can take the boy out of the country,
      but you can't take the country out of the boy." When it comes to
      politicians and bureaucrats of all kinds, you can't take the faith
      out of the person. It forms an integral part of an individual as much
      as their race or sexual orientation do. The best aim is to
      disestablish religion, or never establish it at all. On the federal
      level, the USA has never had the equivalent of the Church of England
      or the Lutheran Church in Norway. Under American jurisprudence, the
      Supreme Court has been asked many times to decide if a particular
      relationship between Church and State is an establishment. Some
      policies have been upheld over the years such as not taxing Churches.
      Others like the display of the Ten Commandments or school organized
      prayer have not. Where the line is drawn is the sand will always be a
      matter of debate. One cannot criminalize thought, not even religious
      thought. One can regulate how much deference or support the Church
      receives.
      --
      Michael P. Gronseth
      Negaunee, MI

      (1) Historically, aid and relief efforts in response to tragedies
      have come through non governmental means. Individuals turned to
      private charities or their church congregation in times of need.
      Government intervention and direct aid efforts are a much more recent
      development. Recent proposals by the current administration in
      Washington seek to allow all charities to compete for federal grants
      regardless of the secular or religious nature of the applicant
      organization. Also, private sector contributions in the US for global
      crises such as the tsunami typically out number official government aid.
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