What’s all the fuss?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Tread lightly when walking along a religious row.

Sane men avoid such places because there are only blindingly light and dark passages – too bright or too dark to see where you’re stepping. In these clashes between blinded fighters, innocents are as likely to be trampled underfoot as the opponent.

Don’t worry, I’m not coming into the light/dark place with guns blazing. I’m not tossing any bombs today, but I am wondering why Christians feel so threatened. Well over 90 percent of people claim to be religious and the vast majority of that 90-plus percent are Christians of one stripe or another.

We’re not living in Rome of 1,900 years ago. Christians aren’t banned. Christians aren’t outlawed. Christians aren’t being thrown to the lions. Heck, near as I can figure from what little I know about the religious affiliations of county, state, and national leaders – Christians pretty much run the show. Except for a small handful of Jewish elected officials (there may be representatives of other religions and one or two non-religious folks) everybody’s a Christian.

So why the paranoia? Why do I keep hearing Christians still talking about how they are persecuted? &uot;They&uot; have taken God out of the schools. &uot;They&uot; are teaching evolution is science class. &uot;They&uot; are murdering innocent babies. &uot;They&uot; are trying to destroy marriage.

Nobody took religion out of school. Adults and children in schools retain their religious convictions at the end of the day and not a soul tries to dissuade them from those convictions. The only thing the Supreme Court said about religion in public schools is that since we are a free nation, the government is not allowed to establish a state religion. That seems to me a good thing, not because I want to keep children from praying to God, but simply because I don’t think somebody in Washington should be able to tell children how to pray and who to pray to.

Christians are still trying to get evolution tossed out of schools. I can understand this sort of thing at the turn of the 20th Century because evolution was a relatively new theory and most people of that era were rather uneducated.

But it’s the 21st Century! It’s time to stop pretending evolution is some sort of mesmerism being perpetrated on children by devil-worshipping fiends. The Theory of Evolution is just as firmly a &uot;truth&uot; as the Theory of Gravity is. While there are anomalous findings here and there, every measure – from observation to DNA analysis – supports the &uot;theory&uot; that life evolved over time. There are anomalous findings by physicists regarding the Theory of Gravity – they’re still not sure how the heck it works – but there have been no credible sightings of folks floating away because gravity doesn’t really exist.

This has all been merely a preface to the latest outrage in the country – gay marriage. Personally, I think marriage is defined as the joining together a male and a female – a bond between the two halves of humanity into a whole that is infinitely better than man or woman alone. That’s where the word comes from and I guess I’m a bit old fashioned about word use.

However, I don’t feel marriage is in any way threatened by the unions of gay people. There is no word that I know of to describe the loving, lifetime commitment between man and man or woman and woman. In the absence of such a word, I guess it makes sense that the word &uot;marriage&uot; be utilized.

Two lifetime partners – gay or straight – should have equal rights to property, hospital visitation, child custody, etc. Why shouldn’t they? The only reason to deny them rights is because of some passages in the Bible that says homosexuality is wrong. Other passages, I’m given to understand, are more ambiguous. Even if there are no other passages, however, it is not the job of the government to establish religious belief into law. That’s against the Constitution.

Take away the religious component to banning same sex marriage and what do you have? Only discrimination. That, too, is against the Constitution.

The real threat to marriage is not whether gays can do it; the real threat to marriage is divorce – people entering into marriage who do not understand what it means, who are too selfish to make the necessary commitment to make it succeed, and who are simply too immature to take this important step.

Half of marriages end in divorce. If gay people are willing to make the real commitment necessary to make a loving, lifetime relationship work, I’m not going to say they’re doing the wrong thing. Why would anybody?