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Thomas Jefferson and Chicken Sandwiches

I’m a little late to this particular party, because it’s not my usual style to write serious and/or political things.  However, this issue is weighing heavily on me and it clearly won’t go away until I get it off my chest.

A word about Chick Fil A.  Dan Cathy is entitled to his beliefs.  He is entitled to run his business any way he chooses.  He is entitled to talk about it.  Do I agree with him?  No, I do not, but that’s what is wonderful about America.  We don’t have to agree.  We can voice our opinions.  We can choose to forgo chicken sandwiches for the rest of our natural lives if we choose to do so, or we can eat a #1 Original every day.  (For those who are interested, there is a spot-on copycat recipe here.  Win, win.)  I think it’s a terrible business practice to alienate a huge group of customers, but it’s not my choice to make.  It’s his.  He is following his conscience and his belief structure and that is his right.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Now, on to the bigger issue of same-sex marriage.  I don’t understand why this is such an issue.  I mean, I have looked at it from all sides and tried on different viewpoints and really, truly struggled to understand and I still can’t.  Every argument I’ve seen on the matter brings in the teachings of the Bible.  Again, you’re entitled to your beliefs and if you choose to follow God’s word to the letter, I will not argue with you.  It’s your right.  However, it’s not the government’s right.  Our founding fathers never intended to create a Christian nation.  The Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 clearly states (in part):  “…the Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”  Many of our founding fathers were Christian, some were not.  Thomas Jefferson took it upon himself to rearrange the Bible, creating the Jefferson Bible.  These men were entitled to their beliefs, the same as we are today, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with our government.  And while I’m aware that marriage rights are a state issue, not a federal one, I don’t believe it should matter.  I believe that our government was built on the hope that individual states would uphold the basic rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Individual churches can not, and should not, be forced to marry any two people, but this is not an issue of church or religion.  However, if any adult, consenting couple chooses to go to the local courthouse and get married, they should be allowed to do so.  I don’t understand how this threatens or cheapens “traditional” marriage.  I can’t help but remember the early days of my relationship with my husband.  We married young, and the early years were difficult, but we did it anyway.  We got married before it was wise for us to do so simply because we couldn’t stand to not be married.  It mattered.  It was important.  I can’t find it in me to deny that to any couple who wants to make that declaration and that commitment to one another.

The whole issue smacks of the race and gender issues in our society’s recent past, and don’t we all feel silly about that now?  I can’t, for the life of me, see how a same-sex marriage threatens my family.  I can’t see how society won’t benefit from more love in the world.  I don’t understand why so many people are bound and determined to deny these rights to people, just because they are different.  Isn’t that what our country is built on?  Are we not the great melting pot?  Or do we pick and choose the people who deserve rights?

You don’t have to agree with me.  You don’t have to like gay people.  But our nation is built on the idea that all people have the right to the pursuit of happiness.  It is no one’s right to deny that.  Homosexuals are not lesser humans.  They are regular people just like you and I and they deserve the same opportunities that everyone else enjoys.  The Bible does not belong in government and, at heart, marriage is a legal union.  You don’t have to believe in that, but as long as heterosexual couples can get married at the courthouse, then it is what it is.  Your marriage, as it exists in God’s eyes, is your business.  The Catholic church does not recognize my marriage.  I was not married in a Catholic church, my husband is not Catholic and we are not raising our children in the Catholic faith.  That does not make us any less married.  That doesn’t negate my marriage license.  In short, I don’t need the approval of any person or any group, because I am married, no matter what you think about it.  Doesn’t every adult person deserve that?

No one is asking for everyone’s approval.  Just step out of the way.  Believe what you believe.  That is your freedom and your right according to the Constitution of this great nation.  It is also the right of every other American citizen, whether they be white, black, Muslim, female or gay.  I urge everyone to remember the separation of Church and State.  I urge you to enjoy your religious freedom and still respect the beliefs of others, no matter how alien they may seem to you.  I urge you to support the pursuit of happiness for every person.

I’m aware that I have simplified, and I’ve done so because, to me, it seems a very simple issue and, as I said, I can’t understand the brouhaha.  Please feel free to leave respectful comments regarding your views of the issue.  I am endlessly curious about why people believe that a loving union is a threat to anyone and why they believe that our government has the authority to deny fundamental rights to any group of people.

  1. August 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

    the issue for me re: CFA isn’t so much that he believes the stuff, but donates to groups that actively pursue discrimination. so, he’s not getting my money to add to that pot. however, i also disagree that it is ok for boston and chicago to deny him the ability to build there.
    as for the rest of your post: YES! my marriage is also legal, with us being an apathetic agnostic and an atheist. in fact, we had no mention of god anywhere in our ceremony, but that doesn’t make it any less legitimate. i agree that churches should be able to decide whether to perform ceremonies for any couple, but in the eyes of the law it shouldn’t even be a question that all couples are entitled to the same legal protections offered by marriage.

    • August 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Exactly…we can choose to contribute to CFA or not, same as he can choose to contribute to discrimination. We don’t have to agree with it, and we have the freedom to speak and act for or against it. As far as marriage, I’m right there with you. We were married in a church, but that doesn’t make our marriage any more legitimate than anyone else’s. It’s a legal issue and I just don’t get why everyone wants to make it a religious one.

  2. martha
    August 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Shel. I also agree with you in that to me the whole CFA thing was blown out of proportion by the gay and lesbian community because Mr. Cathy simply stated he believed in traditional marriage.. between a man and a woman. Period.. that is ALL he said.. he bashed no one.. never said he would not serve/hire/or disrespect them.. just what his beliefs were.. the same thing they push for tolerance.. and they have NONE for those that believe in traditional marriage.
    I support CFA’s right to conduct their business anyway they want. Choice as I have always supported. It is a freedom issue to be able to conduct ourselves any way we wish.. without being right or wrong so long as we do not harm or put others in harm.
    On the issue of Gay marriage I feel they should just legalize it so that when they get married they have to get divorced like everyone else.. I feel like if I choose to live with a man for a year I cannot claim them as my partner for health insurance or benefits or legal documents .. I HAVE to get married.. I think they get off too easy their commitment is one where they can just say “I am done” and walk away (not all of them) .. I can’t easily do that.. it is a legal issue… AND I don’t even want to discuss the religious side of it we all have our POV on that and I know my limits 🙂

    • August 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      You’re completely correct…it’s a legal issue. And wouldn’t it just simplify everything for everyone if they married and divorced just like hetero couples? Everyone should have the choice to make that commitment or not. 🙂

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