I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so I supported the man-woman marriage Proposition 8 in California - until I discovered the Proposition 8 campaign tolerates discrimination against Jews. ProtectMarriage.com's legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund, has in effect a "No Jews Need Apply" policy for legal and even secretarial positions. They say they're not a law firm, they're a "ministry" and thus have a right to discriminate against Jews and other non-Christians. But even if that's true, Proposition 8 had hundreds of law firms to choose from. The fact they chose one that refuses to hire a Jew like me is very disturbing. Interestingly, Jesus himself was a Jew, so when a group has a policy that would lead them to refuse to hire their own Messiah, you know something's seriously wrong.The post started an interesting firestorm of comments starting with my comment that Benkof should be ashamed of himself and degenerating into a weird argument in which Benkof had to explain that he's not "ex-gay" - he's still gay, just not a practicing homosexual (the gay verion of being a secular Jew or something along those lines). It also spawned a thread in which Benkof had the stones to join the christotheocratic chorus decrying "secularists" for refusing to be forced to accept religiously based legislation as a way to impose religion on non-adherents:
As for "forced," you want to have your secular beliefs forced on me. All I'm doing is using my one vote and my freedom of speech and the press to get the laws to represent my values. You do the same. Are you saying only you should have input into the laws? I really don't understand.
In a nutshell, anyone who supports allowing the US government to enact bible-based legislation because it happens to conform to their personal/religious views is condoning theocracy. In other words, one does not have to support a forced conversion to be suppressing the religious freedom of another. Your right to religious expression does not supersede my right to religious freedom.
Those of us who object to Proposition 8 as the imposition of the religious dogma of others on non-adherents are not, in any way, forcing those who object to Same Sex Marriage (SSM) to condone, partake in or otherwise support the marriage of gay people. As a gay man whose religious views are inconsistent with his own nature, Mr. Benkof can apply his conscientious objection to homosexuality and SSM by living in accordance with his understanding of the tenets of his religion; by not indulging whatever feelings or attractions he has to men and by not supporting any gay acquaintances who choose to marry. Benkof may be doing the right thing in exposing the bigotry of "ProtectMarriage.com" but his complaints about their practices and beliefs are, in fact, as much as an indictment of himself as they are of the organization he now holds in contempt.
In this, it's probably appropriate to reflect on the JFK's address to the Southern Baptist Leaders a little over 48 years ago:
But let me stress again that these are my views -- for, contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President [but the candidate] who happens also to be a Catholic.
I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me.
Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling, or any other subject -- I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictate. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.
But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience, or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office, and I hope any other conscientious public servant would do likewise.
Tags: Politics; Religion; civil rights; religious freedom/freedom of expression; gay marriage; Proposition 8; teh gaySphere: Related Content