An Open Letter on Gay Marriage and Civil Rights

To whom this may concern,

To those who may actually know me, you know my stance on gay marriage. To those of you who may only know The Jeanious (i.e. the internet me), my previous posts and other social media outlets make my stance on the topic clear as well. With that, understand that my opinion on the matter has not changed, will not change and my supporting logic remains the same as well. I would however like to take a moment to address the calamity that has come with the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage throughout the nation and civil rights in general.

From what I understand, the decision to legalize gay marriage throughout the nation was based on the notion that denying same sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional. If this was truly the motive behind this decision, I have no choice but to respectfully accept their ruling. The decision does not coincide with what I personally believe but the ruling still stands and again, their logic is solid and has little room for misinterpretation. Since that decision has been made, it so seems that there are many of us who continue to make the mistake in believing that any and all decisions that are made must match what we personally believe in; albeit lovely if that was the case but that’s not the world we live in nor is that the belief our country was founded upon.

To speak more directly to the topic good friends, family and all others, the idea and motive behind a lot of this issue seems to have been long forgotten. Do you remember The Declaration of Independence? This document guarantees all citizens the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the Supreme Court’s ruling supports just that. If it makes a person happy to marry the person of the same sex, then so be it! Again, I understand that you may not personally agree and neither do I, but in knowing that do you still think the ruling was wrong? Or was the Supreme Court just doing their job? I humbly ask you to consider that. As a people, we cannot fault those involved in the decision making process for their decision. I think it would be ignorant to believe that the Supreme Court voted “yes” to this by majority vote to spit in the face of the Christian American population or encourage such behavior. Through their ruling, they were enforcing the guidelines that the forefathers of our nation founded this country upon. Like all decisions made at that level, its implied and assumed that these decisions won’t go over well with everyone, but that cannot stop them from doing their job.

Furthermore, it so seems to me that a huge part of the disagreement are due to varying views on religion and personal beliefs. Again, I have made my stance clear and religious beliefs even clearer and will not change it. However, as a citizen of the United States I -along with everyone else who legally resides within the United States – have certain inalienable rights that were granted by the Declaration of Independence as well as The Constitution; one of these rights is the right to the freedom of religion. With this in mind, I/we are allowed to pray to whoever or whatever we see fit as are our friends, family, neighbors and total strangers. You have the right to be Christian, Catholic, Wiccan, Buddhist, Atheist, agnostic or whatever else you decide. Since this is a right rather than a privilege, its one I take very seriously and subsequently do all I can to respect the fact that others have the same right.

As I bow my head and pray during each military ceremony I attend or am involved in, as I hold hands with whomever I may be dining with and bow my head to say “grace” before I eat and as I maintain a bible scripture on the signature block of each of my emails, all those who see each of these actions respect my right to pray freely and do not interrupt, belittle or make snide remarks as I pray to my God or display my faith. In general, everyone is respectful of this right. The problem comes in when something that our religious beliefs does not support comes about, we immediately become defensive and do all we can to disarm it. Friends, family and all others, this is not the way to go. If no one gives you a hard time because of your beliefs – or lack thereof in some cases – why would you do that to someone else? You do not have to agree with the thoughts, opinions and beliefs of the next man but you do not have the right to attack it solely because it differs from yours. You should always stand up for what you believe in but to outright attack someone or something else because you don’t agree? That seems to be a bit immature and only leads to unnecessary conflict. People can respectfully agree to disagree and live separate lives without bullying and bickering with one another; I’ve seen it done and cannot understand why this is so difficult in this situation.

Speaking from a strictly Christian point of view, God gave each and every one of us free will. Free will to choose, free will to accept Him as your Lord and savior or free will not to do so. No matter what, the choice is yours and yours alone to make and ultimately, something that you will discuss with him on judgement day. No matter which version of the bible you read or which derivative of Christianity you subscribe to, this is a point that is made very clear. Additionally, it is made clear throughout the bible time and time again that it is not your place to judge and that is a task assigned to Christ alone. Please, as gently as I can state this: stop trying to play the role of God. Stop throwing out judgement that is not your to give. It is not your job to judge, you have no room, rhyme or reason to judge and to be quite honest, you have no business judging. You do your personal best to comply with the Lord’s teaching and lead people to Christ but anything beyond that is not your lane. If you don’t agree with something, that’s okay! You don’t have to. The bible instructs us not to conform to the ills of the world and that we should live our lives in such a way that anyone, no matter what their belief, walk of life, etc. can see the goodness of the Lord through us. This is how we bring others to Christ and introduce Christianity; we do not bully, belittle or attack others in the name of the Lord. Nowhere in the thousands of pages of text does the bible give anyone shy of Christ himself the right to condemn others. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Friends, family and everyone in between, if you do not know the real me, believe me when I say that I am as headstrong as they come and not much shy of the Lord can make me back down on anything I believe and conformity is not something that I care about, care for or begin to entertain. Even for me, bull-headed and all, I know, understand and respect the fact that there’s only so much that I can and should do as a Christian and a sensible human being to maintain my resolve. There are certain things I do not agree with and will never support and if asked about those topics, I make my stance clear but never will I go on an outright witch hunt to destroy something that I personally don’t agree with it and I’m asking you, brothers and sisters to consider to do the same. Hold fast to what you believe but don’t become so jaded by your beliefs that you become consumed by the monster you’re trying to defeat. It can become dangerously simple to judge and overstep our boundaries.

The bible does outline certain behaviors and lifestyles as sinful but friends, family and everyone else in between we are all sinners. Aside from Christ himself, no one has lived their life without commenting a sin. With this in mind, you have no right to point out the next person’s sin or exploit it. Again, that is a right reserved for our Heavenly Father and not an authority that was delegated to anyone else. It is simple for us (Christians) to refrain from participating in such lifestyles and behaviors that we do not condone and should continue to do so just as we had done before this ruling was passed earlier this morning.

Friends, I’d like to take a different view that is still within the Christian realm on the topic that may help you all to see where I’m coming from. It can become so simple for us to bash and attempt to tear down anything that we do not believe in or agree with but let me tell you brothers and sisters, that will not earn you anymore gold stamps to get into heaven once your time on this earth is done. Once again, we must be careful about playing God. He has made his words, commandments and intentions clear and given us guidance to follow it but never once did he give us the right (once again) to judge or in essence, do his job for him. When that time comes, we will each as individuals be held accountable for our personal actions and that is what we will have to give a testament for; not the actions of the next person, the justices of the Supreme Court or anyone else.

As you move through your life and attempt to destroy everything that your personal beliefs do not agree with, how do you know that the Lord will not look upon you once you meet him and say, “I told you to love thy neighbor and follow my commandments. Yes, I know he/she sinned. Yes, I know he/she chose a lifestyle that is not the same as what I commanded. I was going to handle that in due time and my way. You however, took it upon yourself to not only judged them as I commanded you not to, but you drug my name and teachings through the mud as you slandered and mistreated him/her in the name of my teachings. This is not acceptable. By the way, explain to me why you beat up/attacked/hated/bashed that man/woman. Was it because in your eyes he/she sinned against me? I was going to handle that as well but now, you must explain to me why you did what you did. I’ll talk to them once the time comes but we’re here to talk about you and you alone”. Of course brothers and sisters this is sheerly a hypothetical, but certainly something to keep in mind. None of us know the hour of which the Lord will return nor do we know what he has planned or how he intends to handle certain situations but as individuals, we must be careful not to play a role we were not appointed to. Once again, I am not asking you to conform, and I am certainly not asking you to celebrate or agree with what has been decided, I am ‘reminding’ you that it is not our place to judge and that none of us know what the Lord has planned, how He intendeds to handle a situation, issue or judgement upon any of us. As we roam the earth we are to live by his teachings, follow the laws of the land and pray for those who are in power and appointed over us (see 1 timothy 2:2). He will handle the rest.

Moving beyond the religious aspect of this madness, it really kills me to see the level of hatred that is being tossed around in light of this decision. Yes, I understand that you do not agree with a homosexual lifestyle and neither do I, but it is very unchristian like and not very nice to be hateful towards anyone no matter how or why you two may differ. “… love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). That’s it. No more, certainly no less. It is my firm belief that as Christians we tend to get so wrapped up in the ills of the world and trying to stop it – which is another task that is not our job and reserved for Christ to handle upon his return – that we overlook the key principle that our belief is rooted in: love. It is our job to be kind to one another and show them love no matter why or how we differ. Behavior such as this (hatred, separation, mistreatment due to conflicts of beliefs, etc) has caused nothing but trouble for us and our nation since the dawn of time. With this in mind, as we continue to evolve as a people, shouldn’t we have learned our lesson by now? Additionally, we have all experienced some sort of mistreatment in our lives and were elated when the mistreatment stopped, so why would you do that to another person? Case in point, African Americans, didn’t it break your heart to learn about the way your ancestors were mistreated, abused, sold, etc. during slavery? Upon the abolition of slavery, didn’t it hurt you to be treated poorly just because you have darker skin? Even now, how does it make you feel to see the mistreatment of African American’s on TV? Bad, right? Weren’t you happy when someone stood up for your rights (abolished slavery, legalized interracial marriages, ended segregation, etc.)? Considering you have experienced this first hand or by proxy, why would you want someone to hurt the same way you or those who came before you hurt? Its our mission in life to try to make this world a better place and be kind to one another, not to keep the seemingly endless cycle of hatred and mistreatment going. Please friends, family and everyone else, remember that.

Following the same logic, caucasians, you too have experienced the same degree of hatred and segregation. Please refer to the Holocaust. Up until the beginning of that dark part of history, Jewish people were allowed to pray and worship freely and were treated like normal people until one day, nearly everyone they though was on their side were after them. They were kidnapped, abused, forced into hiding and killed solely based on their beliefs. When the holocaust was over, did your ancestors jump for joy and regain the peace and strength that they had prior to that? I’m sure they did. No longer did they have to hide what they believed in or fear for their lives simply because their beliefs and appearance differed from those that were in power (to a certain degree). I ask you as well to keep that in mind. If you and those who came before you did not like being oppressed and mistreated based on something as basic and nearly silly as race and religion, please don’t do it to others. Once again people, we do not have to agree or see eye to eye but we must respect each others differences and continue to be kind to one another. Be the bigger person and stop perpetuating the hate that was shown to you. Things in this twisted world will only get better if we work together to make it a better place and that can only be done through love, kindness and mutual respect; not hatred and anger.

Briefly, on the flipped of that same coin, please consider how you would react if something you believe in was attacked by someone with an opposing view or worse, if you were forced to live a lie solely because someone else didn’t agree with your personal choices or lifestyle. I believe the holocaust and the tragic example it set showcases the second point beautifully, and the first point can be displayed just as easily. For me personally, I truly intended to “run away” and would have gotten the phrase tattooed on me if the powers that be were successful in removing “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency. Thankfully that did not happen. The decision was halted by a couple of mitigating factors and principles but despite that, never once did I see an atheist group run around screaming “remove ‘In God We Trust’ because we don’t believe in God”. No. They appeared to ignore it because the decision didn’t effect them (i.e. toy with their rights or adversely effect their lifestyle, liberties or personal beliefs) and it so seems that they had enough respect for the rights we all were given not to interfere. If in general we are left at peace by those who may not share our same beliefs, why would you work so hard to destroy things for someone else? For the third time now, we were all given free will and thus far, no one has tried to take ours away so please, be sensible and respect it for others and if for some reason you can not do that or are so pompous that you refuse to, do not get upset when the tables are turned on you.

In closing, friends, family, brothers and sisters and everyone in between: we were all granted free will, we all have the right to pursue happiness and no matter how you choose to look at it, neither of those rights are yours to take away from the next man/woman. It is okay if you do not agree with the decision that was made and naturally, you do not and should not be involved in such actives that you do not believe in or that your faith warns against. However, it is not your place to try to take that away from someone else. I understand that you don’t agree with the decision and once again, neither do I, but it is not your place to judge or throw a tantrum because of it. You wouldn’t like it if this was done unto you, so please do not do it to others. Remember the teaching of our Lord and do not judge and be kind. That’s all.

With love and very respectfully,

The Jeanious

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