Today’s letter – Pat Robertson’s slippery soapbox undermines freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Televangelist Pat Robertson weighed in on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Law that Maine’s Governor John Baldacci signed earlier this week with the tired “Slippery Slope” argument:

We haven’t taken this to its ultimate conclusion. You got polygamy out there. How can we rule that polygamy is illegal when you say that homosexual marriage is legal? What is it about polygamy that’s different? Well, polygamy was outlawed because it was considered immoral according to biblical standards. But if we take biblical standards away in homosexuality, what about the other? And what about bestiality and ultimately what about child molestation and pedophilia? How can we criminalize these things and at the same time have constitutional amendments allowing same-sex marriage among homosexuals. You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent.

Saying marriage is between two people is not a slippery slope. Two people who are worthy of marriage ought to be able to marry each other, without interference from the government.

The real “slippery slope” is certainly not polygamy, but rather it is the next thing that the Opponents of Equality will take away. Will it be divorce? How about the ability to teach science in our schools? Or the freedom to choose our own religion?

As a parent I am much more terrified of what a Robertsonocracy would do to this country: replace what the Bible actually says (“treat others as you would like to be treated”) with whatever Robertson says it says. I mean, Governor, do you want Pat Robertson to have more power than you?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – four levels of sin, and gay marriage isn’t even on there

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

There are four levels of sin in the Bible. There are “fish on Fridays” sins that are completely made up; “shave and dress” sins that are so old-testament that nobody follows them anymore. There are “ten commandments” sins that are a little more poignant; finally there is “the Golden Rule.”

As a reference, it is laid out in the New testament: “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Romans 13:9

The reason why this is relevant is because the Leviticus admonishments against gay people fall into category I or II depending on how you translate the Bible. But the sin of denying somebody marriage when you accept it for yourself is a grievous violation of the highest level: the Golden Rule.

No self-respecting Christian can lie about “perversion”, encourage others into adultery, turn others away from God, stoke teen suicides and deny equal rights to their neighbors, and then expect to uphold this Golden Rule thingie. And that is why any who argue this into public policy is morally bankrupt, and why those who understand that marriage and faith actually depend on acceptance of all God’s people fairly and equally, is the only argument that is Constitutional, American and Christian.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – a modern dividing line


Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Mason-Dixon line was used to separate slave states from free states. We have managed to divide our country once again, this time with the battle lines that limit marriage.

Ten states – not even our neighbors – are asking California’s Supreme Court not to lift the special ban on same-sex marriages.

The Opponents of Equality are arguing that they might have to recognize our marriages in their own states, in case the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and their own states’ Constitutional Amendments are somehow struck down.

While these states may or may not have the right to exclude their fellow Americans from fully participating in their economy and society, that is up to them. Trying to punish Californians for their bigoted intolerance is reprehensible.

What is particularly sad is that they don’t even want to block California marriages altogether – they just want them to go away until November, when a Constitutional Amendment (that has not even qualified for the ballot) might stop them.

Please, Governor, join your Attorney General Jerry Brown in opposing these unfortunate attempts to second guess the California Supreme Court and undermine basic human rights in your state.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – sad peoplehaters

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I have a sad tale to share with you from my mail bag, sad because it shows a glimpse of the worst of people. A “foamer” (a.k.a. a rabid irrational Opponent of Equality) wrote to me about my explanation of how Ruth and Naomi provide the best example of love in all of the Old Testament, perhaps a quote you paraphrased at your own wedding: “And Ruth said [to Naomi], Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: …Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16-17

YouTuber “LenaLena” wrote me to say “That is extremely disgusting. How dare you twist the story of Ruth and Boaz around?! Ruth fell in love with Boaz. There is no way that the bible supports homosexuality in anyway. Actually, the bible is very clear on where God stands with homosexuality.”

What is so sad and frustrating about this is that the foamers don’t read the Bible they are using as a weapon against their neighbors. I am really tired and frustrated of being treated as less than human by a Church and a Government that is seemingly beholden to these people. Anybody who reads the Bible can see in an instant that Ruth’s relationship was with Naomi, not Boaz. And God blesses committed same-sex relationships with abundance:

Ruth 4:17 “And the women her neighbors gave [Ruth’s baby] a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” And we all know where the House of David leads.

Everybody ought to be able to follow their own personal belief on this – but I wish you would not let the foamers make public policy while my beliefs are trampled by falsehoods and lies.

Yours,

Today’s letter – tests of faith

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I read today about a mission sponsored by Soulforce, the National Black Justice Coalition, The Metropolitan Community Church and COLAGE that will be traveling to six influential mega-churches between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in order to challenge anti-gay messages in places of worship.

The sponsors have asked the six mega-churches to welcome Outing’s gay and gay-friendly families for meals, conversation and worship. Will they be welcome by the new crop of ministers who are not as anti-gay as Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. D. James Kennedy? Or will they be turned away like the angels were from Sodom and Gomorrah, or same-sex couples were when you vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

It is truly pathetic that lesbian and gay citizens of California are more welcome by their churches than they are by their government.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Jesus was not about ‘social order’

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today on the radio I heard about “Black Liberation Theology.” The logic goes like this: Jesus was a rabble-rouser. He kept telling people that they should not listen to the rabbinical power players, but rather listen to God. This upset the power players so much they executed him for what we would today call political crimes.

But through his life and death, He gave us liberty not just over the tyranny of death, but also over the tyranny of Old Testament laws and oppressive Roman rule. We reach heaven not through punishing people, but by liberating them. From The Good Samaritan to The Sermon on the Mount, God’s message is clear: we are to love God with all our heart, soul, body and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That what Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and even Jeremiah Wright are trying to tell us, and not a bad foundation.

Now as a gay dad, I’m just trying to be the best husband, father and Christian that I can. That seems to disturb a lot of people. But what Liberation Theology shows us is God wants us to love and accept people no matter how much they disturb us. Whether the gays will or won’t go to heaven is unclear, but whether the oppressors or the oppressed will go to heaven is crystal clear.

Putting your veto on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was an easy thing for you to do, but if there is any truth to Liberation Theology, it was not the right thing to do. After all, I may be a rabble-rouser myself, but I am still your neighbor.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let the men marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Yesterday I proposed that you recognize the boundaries of the old-testament admonishment against homosexuality by letting lesbian couples get married. But the bible actually says men are superior:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:12

So gay male couples are naturally superior to couples where a woman is involved. Why would you want to discourage – through banning marriage – these more perfect unions?

So why not let gay male couples wed? That wouldn’t tread on these religious decrees, but it would get us half-way closer to bringing the freedom to marry to everybody who wants it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – let the women wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The people who are upset because I want to get married keep pointing to the Bible as justification for their intolerance.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

So why not let lesbian couples wed? That wouldn’t tread on these religious decrees, but it would get us half-way closer to bringing the freedom to marry to everybody who wants it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Adam should not be alone

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Your public policy on gay marriage seems to have all started with Adam and Eve. This original couple started out clinging together and was later told by God that they were married and to “go forth and multiply.”

This relationship has been carried to an extreme in order to specially exclude homosexual couples from society and, in particular, marriage. This has gone on for so long that those opposed to my marriage carry signs that say “God made Adam and Eve – Not Adam and Steve!” The reasoning is twofold: first, Adam and Eve were created to procreate, and second, since God didn’t make a gay couple, God forbids gay relationships. Of course, anybody who actually reads Genesis with more care than they read a t-shirt gets a different view.

For the first point, God’s first stated reason for marriage was companionship, not procreation. God said:

“It is not good that the man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18.

Thus He created Eve for Adam. Procreation was bonus, since at the time they didn’t have sperm banks or in vitro clinics.

The second point, just because God happened to made a man and a woman first doesn’t mean anything about couples after that. Adam and Eve didn’t make grandparents or bellybuttons, but I don’t see bumper stickers about that. What really makes this argument folly is that God did make at least one gay couple – me and my partner – and thus the argument of God’s Perfect Template falls apart.

So the next time you get a letter from a constituent saying Adam and Steve should be kept apart, remember Adam and Eve, and God’s message of companionship and commitment. Then support the freedom to marry for all God’s children.

Yours,

Today’s letter – My Religious Belief

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I want to get married, but my quest is blocked by people quoting scripture and a Governor who appeases them. While the part of scripture they trumpet seems to admonish gay sex, another part of the bible tells a very different story about same-sex marriage.

The story of Ruth and Naomi, a same-sex couple, starts out with Naomi practically dead with grief and despair. Ruth resurrects her with a moving speech that includes the line you might have said at your own wedding: “till death do us part.” By the end of the story, Ruth and her “beard” Boaz have a child while the women of Bethlehem really know what’s going on, declaring that “a son has been born to Naomi.”

We can disagree about what the bible says about sex, but we cannot disagree about the message that God is sending us with the marriage of Ruth and Naomi: that love comes in many forms, and all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry. I wish you, as Governor, would get out of the way of my exercise of my beliefs and let me wed.

Yours,