Today’s letter – what if we had to register our religion?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

If we had a government registry for religion, what would it look like?

It would obviously require people to be a certain age, and only register once. Would it require a race, a gender, or a certain belief? Obviously not. Would it only have a few checkboxes? That would be silly. Not even our voter registration forms restrict choice or demand a specific affiliation.

The state does run a registry for marriage. Would you lease explain why same-sex domestic partners are prevented from participating in that registry?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Miss California’s lesson about sex outside of marriage comes from her own mom, Mr. Terminator Salvation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Carrie Prejean, Miss California and NOMBLA spokesperson, is once again in the news today. You may recall that Miss Prejean lost the Miss USA crown after she preached “in my country, in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.” Well it turns out that, according to ABC News, her mom was dating a woman as recently as two weeks before the Pageant.

I guess in her country, in her family, she believes that gay sex is OK, as long as it isn’t marriage. I don’t know what perverted Bible she is using, but it sure isn’t the same as mine. My Bible says the opposite: that sex is for marriage. Anything else is adultery. And there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

The only solution that protects everybody’s religious freedom is a Government that respects both of our interpretations. That is easy to do by letting two people who are able to get married, get married to each other. That’s the only way that Miss Prejean does not have to get gay-married, and I do not have to get, as Miss. Prejean calls it, opposite-married.

Come on, Governor, with the budget disaster, you’re running out of legacies!

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Doctors should not be able to choose between their faith and their job

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In the “Gathering Storm” ad being aired by the National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) there is a California doctor who testifies that she “has to choose between my faith and my job.”

I don’t want to live in a state where the doctor at the emergency room triages patients based on their beliefs; I don’t want to live in a state where my HMO sends patients to somebody who gives them second-class treatment because of their prejudices.

I don’t think the remedy is getting rid of same-sex marriage. Governor, could you please contact NOM to find out who that California doctor is, so she can be immediately removed from medical practice?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Religious Mailbag

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I got a really nice note from a reader who saw my posting about The Book of Ruth and how Ruth’s relationship with Naomi inspired her like it inspired me.

You may recall that Ruth and Naomi promised to love and protect each other, “’till death do we part” and wound up having a son together.

“PhourQ” writes “I believe the story of Ruth and Naomi was an answer I received when praying about this issue. I’m glad others are seeing it too.”

That seemed so concise and spiritual that I needed to share. This is relevant to the governorship because it is evidence that there are many Californians who believe, as I do, that marriage is intended to unite two people for mutual joy, comfort in adversity and to raise children in the Church. Without pronouns!

“PhourQ” goes on to say “If people want to argue that the 10 commandments still stand in order to receive salvation, then it’s funny to see people try to wiggle homosexuality into the 10 commandments…it’s just not there.”

Governor, you do not have to advocate for same-sex marriage because of gay rights, you can advocate for same-sex marriage for religious freedom. The way I read our Constitution, you have to.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Shouldn’t Churches Decide

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The biggest arguments I’ve been in about same-sex marriage have hinged on what the bible says about same-sex relationships. Apparently not even the churches can decide!

Some, like the Episcopal Church, believe that all God’s children should be able to participate in the rites of the Church. Others, like the Catholic Church, decided that gay people are not worthy of the rites of ordination and marriage.

When St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach had to choose between “treat thy neighbor as thyself” and “I’m better than the gays,” they decided to leave the Episcopal Church. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that St. James cannot violate the beliefs of the Church, and take the property of the Church with them.

St. James is the exception that proves the rule: freedom of religion demands freedom to marry. The Supreme Court realizes this, the legislature realizes this, and the churches realize this. Why does our government continue to block my freedom to believe, and my freedom to marry?

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 – the Christian thing to do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I know that you aren’t supposed to be mixing religion and government, but since this whole “Limit on Marriage” thing comes out of a strange interpretation of the bible and a government-sponsored intolerance for religious beliefs, I wish you would consider how the church is embracing this decision as it relates to your public policy. It is, as Rev. Mark Hallahan pointed out, “the most important issue to face the church since slavery.”

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued this unequivocal statement:

Today’s Supreme Court decision on same-gender relationships is important because it reflects our baptismal vow to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being” and our commitment to justice and mercy for all people.

I celebrate and give thanks for this decision of the court and look forward with joy and excitement to a future of justice and mercy for all people in the State of California and the Episcopal Church.

To paraphrase St. Paul, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord.

J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of Los Angeles

Far from forcing churches to perform ceremonies, this decision lets churches that believe in the dignity of every human being exercise their religious freedom and perform the ceremonies. In a brilliant example of “practice what you preach” All Saints’ Pasadena is opening their doors to marriage and will perform their first same-sex wedding on June 18.

I wish you had signed AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, when it was on your desk. I hope now you understand why the courts are forcing you to do the American and Christian thing, and support the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Iron Man” from the Marvel Comics Super Heroes Collection. Iron Man used an accident as an opportunity to don an impenetrable shell of iron and change from advocating injustice into a knight fighting against it.

Today’s letter – bigot begone!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Eddie Walker, the principal of Irmo High School in Columbia, S.C., announced he will resign from his post after the district approved a gay-straight alliance that supposedly conflicts with his religious beliefs. “Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions,” Walker wrote in his resignation.

The club provides support for gay, lesbian and straight students from an often hostile school environment. Reports show that in 2007, 31 percent of gay students were threatened or injured and 18 percent were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation. The Lexington-Richmond School District could not stop the club from forming because of federal law prohibiting a club from being banned because of religious bias.

“We truly believe it is unfortunate that this principal cannot see the immense harm that is caused when a social climate of rejection, condemnation and violence is justified with misguided religious belief,” said Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America.

California law now bans prohibiting individuals from getting married because of religious bias. There will undoubtedly be some people who will resign from the County Clerks offices because they are unwilling to uphold the law. When that happens, we must simply remember what President Eisenhower said when he considered ending the traditional segregation of the blood supply into “Colored,” “White–Hebrew,” and “White-Christian” in 1950. The Red Cross told him that the South wouldn’t accept “mixed blood.” Eisenhower replied “then the South will not get any blood!” and issued an executive order ending the practice.

If Eddie Walker doesn’t want a gay-straight alliance at his school, then he is free to leave. “Those who deny freedoms to others deserve them not for themselves.”

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – you have been terminated!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was a great day. The State Supreme Court overruled you to say that same-sex couples must be given the “respect and dignity” of marriage because the constitutional protections for race and gender also apply to sexual orientation.

The Los Angeles Times quoted me saying “I think this is the beginning of the end of ostracism, bullying, and all the things that used to make people feel less human than others.”

The Los Angeles Times also quoted you – in the paragraph after me, ha ha – saying that you “will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.” Thank you for that. Thank you thank you thank you. But it is a little late for you to be surrendering your authority over my relationships, after that authority was removed.

Because of the Domestic Partnership legislation that you signed and the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” my family is honestly not directly affected by this decision at a legal level. But people don’t get married for the rights: they get married for the social acceptance. This decision – and your support of it – sends the clear message that ALL California couples are welcome to commit to marriage and fully participate in our economy and our society.

The real victory is not for us, it is for every struggling teen who thinks they are different, by bringing them the comfort that there is a way to live their life without celibacy or suicide, and their government – and Governor – will support them.

Today was a great day because the State Supreme Court said “freedom means freedom for EVERYBODY,” and my Governor will (finally) fight to make sure that happens.

No longer Yours,

Today’s letter – State of the State

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In your “State of the State” address last Tuesday, you asked legislators to work with you to tackle some of California’s most pressing challenges. While your list had many important items, I expected that your agenda would have been topped by the plight of over 100,000 Californians who are specially blocked from getting married. That’s 100,000 Californians who would like have the freedom to marry the person they love, but are specially excluded from participating our economy and society.

While we are still debating whether people have a right to health care or clean air, we are all in agreement that the people have a right to live free from discrimination based on their gender, religion or sexual orientation.

I wish you would assume leadership of this issue like you have on the budget, education, growth, health care and the environment, because of all of the great things you want to accomplish, there is nothing more important than ensuring that all Californians have the freedom to enjoy them.

Yours,