Opinion: Religion plays part in social intolerence

Opinion By: Josh Oldham

TWO THOUSAND TWELVE has seen the marriage equality movement take several steps forward. A California appeals court ruled that Proposition 8, a piece of legislation introduced to voters to ban marriage between same-sex couples, was unconstitutional.

Then, the state of Washington became the seventh state in the USA to legalize equal marriage rights.

This year has been promising to those who wish to see marriage equality become the accepted norm.

Yet in all of this, where is Texas? Texas still remains among the majority of states who have amendments on the books that specifically ban marriage between same-sex couples.

What is the reason? Forget the pseudo-scientific studies (which have been debunked by most respectable scientific establishments).

The reason our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual friends and family members still are unable to legally wed their partners in the state of Texas boils down to one thing: religion – namely, the predominant religion in Texas: evangelical Christianity.

Evangelical Christianity has made the protection of “traditional” marriage one of its most important missions in Texas, and with a host of church members at its back, it has been fairly successful in its goals.

One of the most infuriating claims made by evangelical Christians is that any society that supports an “abomination to the Lord” will find itself at the mercy of the Christian God.

Prominent members of the evangelical community, such as Pat Robertson, cite the current economic problems facing our country as God’s wrath for being so accepting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.

Of course, that strand of thought is about as logically convincing as a witch doctor grumbling that the volcano wouldn’t rumble as much if he were allowed to throw in the odd virgin every now and then.

However, for quite a few evangelical Christians, it is taken as very convincing evidence.

Though such arguments are incredibly ludicrous, they can be dismissed out of hand for being based on such laughable thoughts.

Far more insidious is the excuse for not supporting marriage equality that I hear from far too many people:

“I just can’t support gay marriage. It’s against my religion.”

That statement, in its various phrasings and forms, makes my blood boil every time I hear it.

The implications are clear. “My religion is far more important to me than your happiness or the equal rights your family would receive if you could be legally married in the eyes of the state.”

Few people will admit to this. Some even claim that they have LGBT friends that they know and love, but they just can’t support something they believe is a sin and goes against their religion.

I have news for any person who uses that line: Your “religious rights” come to a complete and immediate stop where they begin to tread on the rights of others, including a person’s right to have his or her relationship be given equal status, no matter what gender one prefers.

As for Texas, no state can say it serves its people while spitefully spitting in the face of citizens who wish for equality.

Just as no state whose government and people so eagerly capitulate to the demands of institutions that wish to legalize their bigotry have any claim to the title of individualists or guardians of freedom.


Josh Oldham can be contacted via email at jloldham23@gmail.com.

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