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The Reflection of Religion: LGBT Rights and Religious Freedom

May 3rd, 2016

LGBT rainbow flag

If we as a society do not stand against such hatred, then we are contributing to it.

What is the difference between civil hate and criminal hate? Other than the obvious types of penalties, these two forms of hatred are more similar than many people want to admit. Sure, a criminal action typically involves physical bodily harm to a person or their property, but are not a person’s mental and emotional well-being also capable of being harmed? Many civil and LGBT rights advocates thought (or at least hoped) that the darkest days of hatred against others based on their natural born traits were over. Unfortunately for those in the LGBT community, this is not the case and severe acts of ignorance and hate are likely to continue until the most pious among us stand up against their brothers and sisters and say “STOP.”

The Harm

There is a lot of talk about “the gay agenda” and how a non-heterosexual lifestyle offends not only one individual’s religious sensibilities, but also how it impacts society as a whole. Many religious minded people may ask, “What is the harm in protecting our religious freedoms” through actions such as refusing to provide services to a gay couple (or those assumed to be gay couples). To even ask that question is to admit an alarming amount of either carefully sheltered ignorance or strongly protected privilege. In order to assume that one individual shop owner’s right of refusal is greater than the right of the American citizen to equal access to all goods and services offered to the public requires a level of blind commitment to an ideal that is, frankly, anti-American.  

The harm to the individual is a harm to society. Imagine what an outsider to American culture, or a child, learns when they see a person turned away from cake shops, boutiques, restaurants, hotels, and other service providers based solely on the preferences of the shopkeeper or employee. Also, while these types of denials may currently be quietly made verbally to one customer’s face, it is not hard to believe that our society would not then progress to signage.  “No Gays Served Here,” a sign might proclaim. “Straight only use front door,” says another. It is with some certainty we as a society can say this is inevitable given our past history with such matters. We will be doomed to repeat the shame of our past against a whole new generation of people. Further, what is the defense being proffered to assuage our fears into allowing such treatment? A proclamation of hardline religious zealots using their interpretation of the Scripture to justify their hate. The type of governance that they are advocating is happening in other places in the world, yet those same zealots loudly rally against it. A question that should be posed to those proponents of this form of “religious freedom” is whether it is not hypocritical to condemn an entire religion such as Islam while at the same time claiming that their actions are intended to protect the freedoms as set forth in our Constitution.

Stemming Hatred

If we as a society, religious and secular together, do not stand against such hatred then we are contributing to it. Hatred is a disease that spreads like a fire over a dry plain, causing similar destruction in its wake. The Universal Life Church is committed to monitoring the continual struggle for the protection of the rights provided to all citizens by the Constitution. We will continue to report on arguments from both sides and analyze their positions from our unique perspective that includes both understanding and Christian faith.

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