February 7, 2012

Land of the [Omitted] Home of the Brave

I don't have time to write this post today. I have a mountain of laundry, errands to run, and a massive list of posts that I've agreed to write, but I'm laying all of it aside right now because I can't just stay quiet about this any longer. It's time to write, to get it out, and to speak up in a place where so many are silent.

This morning, I awoke, grabbed my phone, and clicked through to the various blogs that I follow. One blogger that I read regularly is another stay-at-home-mom. She gave up her career to care for her children and seems like a genuinely wonderful person. So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I read her blog this morning and was informed that anyone who doesn't support gay rights and gay marriage is prejudiced and hateful.

Careful to keep my retorts to myself, I left the following comment on her blog:
I appreciate the point that you’re trying to make [name omitted for privacy], but I wanted to offer the other side of the coin as well. Personally, I don’t believe that gay marriage is right and yet I have friends and relatives that are homosexual. Just because I believe what the Bible says concerning homosexuality doesn’t make me hateful or prejudiced, especially because I believe the entirety of that book (what many churches around our nation have forgotten). Just because we don’t agree with the choices of others doesn’t give us an excuse not to love them and see their worth as people too.
So frequently, churches and anti-gay activists under the “Christian” label get so caught up in condemning the act itself that they end up also condemning the people who are just trying to find love. But there are those of us out there who don’t support homosexuality, but we still love and value those people.
For me, I will be teaching my children Biblical values- which will include the fact that God does not condone the act of homosexuality. To many people, this automatically makes me a hateful and prejudiced person. But hand-in-hand with that Biblical lesson will be the importance of unconditionally loving one’s neighbor which, in my opinion, is a far more valuable lesson than whom one should or should not marry.
I knew that my comment wouldn't be received with raving applause, but I hoped that it would, at the very least, be thought-provoking and would provide a much-needed balance to the post. Instead, I met with pitchforks and torches.

Prejudiced. Hateful. Bigot. Discriminatory. Multiple comments from multiple people, telling me how wrong I am and what a terrible thing it is for me to teach my children these Biblical principles, and for what? Being uncompromising in my beliefs; refusing to bow to others to make them comfortable.

Jonathan and I believe every word of the Bible, including the parts that make us unpopular in modern society and, up til now, I've stayed quiet about this particular topic here on the blog because I don't believe that this is the right place for a heated debate on whether or not our state should vote to change the gay marriage laws in November. I'm happy to discuss what we believe and why we believe it if anyone is interested, but not in a public forum where people feel that throwing stones is acceptable if you don't agree with the beliefs of others.

Our great country was founded on the principles of religious freedom. Today, I learned that we no longer have that luxury, at least where the Internet is concerned. While I don't like being labeled as a bigot or a hater, I can deal with it. The thing that disturbs me far more is the fact that my children will grow up in our home, being taught our ideals and beliefs- and they too will be labeled. They will be ridiculed and laughed at, scorned by friends, and told that they are too stupid to think for themselves all because their religion is different from others.

And it breaks my heart.

Apparently religious freedom was too much to hope for in America. Perhaps one day we will find it again, when we learn to love everyone and respect each other, no matter what our beliefs.

18 comments:

  1. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV) Romans 12:2

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  2. What a fantastic post! I already posted on the Facebook link but I wanted to tell you thank you again for writing this. I agree completely and I'm so glad you are able to give some insight into how a lot of us really feel while still being kind and understanding of other perspectives.

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  3. What a fabulous post! Thank you for writing this in such a way that was not aggressive but informative, and ultimately, very loving!

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  4. You have the religious freedom to follow your religion and teach it to your kids. You also have the freedom of speech that allows you to write this blog post explaining your religious beliefs and your stance on gay marriage.
    Those that oppose your opinion also have those freedoms. They have the freedom to call you names and say mean things. They have the freedom to say things that will hurt you and those you love.
    I ask that you don't say that you don't have religious freedom, because you do. The problem is that, but rather tolerance for different beliefs. I think people lash out because that is all they can do. That can't stop you from practicing your religion, but that can hurt your feelings.

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  5. I understand the way you're seeing it, but I think the point that was made is that for true freedom of religion and freedom of expression, there should be no persecution. While I won't be arrested for writing these things or having these opinions, if I can't freely express them without severe repercussions, I don't think that qualifies as true freedom.

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  6. It's always encouraging to find someone else out there in my generation who has the same convictions that I do. Seems like we are so few and far between these days. Or at least too scared to articulate those beliefs to others for fear of the repercussions you've experienced. The world that my children will grow up in terrifies me! Thanks for having the guts to both respond to that other post and to write this one.

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  7. I'm moreso with Just A Simple Girl on the freedoms viewpoint. That said, the rude and intolerant speech you received after respectfully** voicing your viewpoint is still not acceptable IMO. It is hard to not go into gay marriage/rights after that point though so I will have to stop there. :)
    **respect is key to everything IMO

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  8. Alyssa, I admire your courage. It will never make sense to me how this happens: "you're okay, I'm okay, we're all okay...but not you, conservative Christian person, you're ignorant and wrong."

    But the Bible does say over and over that Christians will be persecuted and hated for their faith, and even if Christians disagree lovingly, it will never be enough. That is to be expected, so keep your chin up and your convictions strong.

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  9. Great post, love it! I'm glad you spoke up - I know that my request of "No using the Lord's name in vain" in my classroom (at a public school) every year is met with some confusion and automatic arguments, but after some explanations, students often respect this more than when I ask them to quit cussing in class.

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  10. Jacinda, I've often wondered the same thing!

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  11. "L" in ELF, I'm surprised you can still ask that in a public school, but it's encouraging for me to hear that the students are trying to respect it once you explain your reasoning.

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  12. I love that you are living out your faith in a way that seems respectful, accepting, etc. I love that you and your husband are raising your children to live good lives.

    What I don't love is that you want the freedom to say whatever you want to say, marry whoever you want to marry, and believe whatever you want to believe ... and yet you don't want others to have that same freedom.

    My religion (or yours, or my neighbors, or the religion of the guy on the train) does not dictate the freedoms of the people in this country. In fact, religion does not dictate ANYTHING in this country as a whole.

    People who don't believe in God get married every day, so you can't say that marriage (in our country) is a Christian act. (I say 'in our country', because I believe marriage to be holy and sacred, but understand that not everyone sees it as such.) In fact, we have laws about the separation of church and state in this country for a reason.

    There is absolutely no excuse for denying civil rights to any group of people. Religion should not get to determine the rights of people in this country.

    If you choose not to attend the wedding of two women because you do not support it, that is your call.

    If your church decides it will not marry two men in its chapel, that is your church's call.

    But to make it ILLEGAL for two people of the same sex to get married? Because of religious beliefs? That is a mixture of church and state that should not even exist.

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  13. Well Sam, I'm not sure where you're from, but in my state, it is currently illegal for two people of the same sex to get married- at least til November when it will be on our ballots. And as much as there are some laws about the separation of church and state, marriage isn't included therein, as marriage in a church still requires state recognition, which inherently couples the two entities together. Could it be completely separate in the future? Perhaps, but that's not a reality at the present, which is why so many conservatives are fighting tooth-and-nail to deny the passage of gay marriage.

    And as for freedom of religion and expression, if I wasn't clear, I apologize. What I was trying to express is that EVERYONE- regardless of their religious beliefs- should have the freedom to express them without fear of repercussions. Just as I want that protection, I want the same for someone who is a Buddhist, a Muslim, or any other religion as well. The key is that we should be adult enough to express our differences without persecuting one another in the process. Hope that clears a few things up for you!

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  14. I am new to your blog, but after reading your latest post I will be a regular reader. Your courage and convictions are inspiring. Thank you for voicing truth even though you knew what kind of fury and hatefulness people would spew at you. I praise God for people like you who dare to raise your children on Biblical principles and worldviews in our current culture. Stay strong!

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  15. Alyssa, So glad to hear that you and Jonathan are staying strong!

    "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
    Matthew 5:11-12

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  17. Thank You for your post on this topic, as well as your wise responses to some of these comments, Alyssa! I was just in a spontaneous conversation about another topic similarly debated in our nation. As Christians, it is very difficult to narrate our beliefs without being chastised and picked apart, especially from non-believers, about "political" issues. It is SO tough. I trust the Lord understands our hearts and sees our actions lived out day to day, representing the gospel and our faith as one. Like Verna quoted, I love that verse in Romans :)

    Thanks for trucking along, and sharing your heart and mind! I look forward to continued reading with you!

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  18. I found your blog via your pregnancy photos from your second pregnancy. Gorgeous and great idea!

    It's part of the Communist agenda to completely erode Christian values, the power of the family and the freedoms our country was founded on and promoting the gay "rights" movement is simply and means to that end. The movie Agenda is a good intro to this. The propaganda is just that, based on lies, but Americans have bought into it, much to the chagrin of their Maker. We're a Romans 1 people, IMHO.

    Keep standing up for what is right.

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