Monday, March 18, 2013

Rob Portman: A Leopard Changes His Spots


In a singular act of courage (or political suicide), Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio publically changed his stance on same-sex marriage.  I admire his courage in making that change.  It cannot have been easy for him to do so.  I have been reading his Facebook page and other online comments.  There have been supportive posts; then again, I have seen horrific, vile, and inflammatory ones.  I wonder if the latter comment posters ever listen to themselves.

I do find it interesting that politicians think it is okay to blatantly orate and legislate discrimination, then suddenly change their minds when it becomes “personal.”  When I vote for someone, I do so with the hope that he or she will govern in a way that reflects the needs of those that put him or her in office.  That requires the elected official put aside personal feelings and do what is best for the constituents, not use that power to foist his or her own personal or religious beliefs on the people who voted. 
We are all equal under the law, and that means something to me.  It’s important to remember that equality under the law means the right to equal protection of the laws, a law being any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law).  This applies to everyone, not just to those who are white, or Christian, or male, or straight.
I have always believed in organized religion.  I think it’s important for children to grow up learning the religious basics:  love God, love your neighbor, and do no harm.  It gives them a foundation from which to become responsible, ethical adults.  But more and more I see hateful rhetoric, name calling, and discrimination…all couched under the umbrella of religion.  Love your neighbor means every neighbor, not just the white neighbor, or the Christian neighbor, or the male neighbor, or the straight neighbor.  It means treating everyone the way you want to be treated.  It means giving everyone you meet your respect.
There are those who think that acceptance and legalization of same-sex unions or marriages will bring the downfall of America; that God, in his wrath, will strike us down like Sodom and Gomorrah.  I believe that the downfall of this nation will come not because we accept and legalize such unions, but because we don’t accept them.  We promote intolerance, and in doing so, we inflame division.  It is the division that will be our undoing. 
If the God we believe in created the universe and everything in it, then he doesn’t care if his creations are white, black, red, green, male, female, gay, straight, or in between.  He doesn’t care if they are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Hari Krishna, Wiccan, Pagan, Agnostic, or Atheist.  God loves ALL his creations in their myriad of differences and in the wonders of their diversity.  Who are we to question God’s wisdom?  Who are we to harangue, berate, judge, disrespect, or condemn what God has created? 
Think about it.