To the editor:
It was disappointing to read the Letter to the Editor "Same-sex marriage not approved by God" (Independent, May 16, 2012).
United States currency is currently printed with the motto "In God We Trust." but this was not so until 1956 when it replaced "E pluribus unum" (Out of many, one) due in large part to a nation struck by fear by Sen. Joseph McCarthy's communist witch hunt. It was also around this time (1954) that the term "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
While the United States is generally a religious nation (71 percent of population believe in God or a Universal Spirit), it is by no means solely a Christian nation. This country was not founded upon belief in a specific religious tradition, but upon principals of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While many of the founding fathers were Christian, there were also Deists (Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson notably), naturalists and humanists.
We can also read Romans 1:18-32 to be a message from Paul (the only writer in the New Testament purported to reference homosexuality) on the dangers of idolatry specifically as it relates to goddess cults and also pederasty that were prevalent in Roman culture during the time of Paul's ministry. It all comes down to interpretation and the way two Greek words translate. There is a passage in Leviticus admonishing homosexuality, however it is in the same context as the passages that admonish eating shellfish (11:9-12), wearing clothes with mixed fibers (19:19), killing children (20:9-12), eating children (26:29) and buying slaves (25:45-46). I also offer what Jesus had to say about homosexuality, "___ ".
Religions can attempt to define marriage however they collectively wish per their beliefs, but marriage was around before the time of Christ. The composition of the marriage historically has been based more upon the culture of the place and time than any prevailing religion. We live in a culture where the majority of people believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society, and public opinion continues to shift in this direction. Why is it so difficult to let our neighbors have the freedom to pursue their happiness? Cannot we remember the Golden Rule, or maybe even Matthew 5:43-47?
I find it silly for a vocal few to continue to insist that this is a Christian nation, and that our government and laws should be based upon Christian ideology. Even more ridiculous to me is that they believe it should be THEIR version of Christianity that should be enforced upon the entire nation. If it were a Christian nation, whose version of Christianity shall it be? The Roman Catholics and Protestants surely have a divide in their beliefs. Evangelical Protestants are a broad spectrum away from Southern Baptists. Even from one tradition of Lutheran to another there are significant differences. Should the Pope decide how our government is ruled, or should we leave it up to Jim Bakker, Fred Phelps, Jesse Jackson, or Warren Jeff to decide whose interpretation of One True Belief is better than everyone else's? To meld religion and government would make us no different than nations we oppose, Iran for instance.
Colonists came to this land to get away from religious persecution and forced state religions, so they could practice their beliefs, or lack thereof, without being ridiculed, killed, or imprisoned.
If your religion works for you and provides the spiritual comfort that you require in your life then by all means practice it, whether you be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, humanist, wiccan, or whatever else might work for you. But please don't for a moment feel that your fears or the way you have been indoctrinated to interpret your religion should be imposed upon everyone else around you. It's YOUR belief. Not ours. If this offends you, please forgive me.