The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

December 11, 2012

Our Readers Speak — Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

 

We are all free to believe as we see fit

As a secular member of the community, I wanted to make a few comments on a recent letter titled “Christians Should Not Compromise Christ.”

First and foremost, America is a nation that is predominantly Christian in regard to religion, but our government is not founded on the tenets of Christianity. I think the Treaty of Tripoli (1796), signed by none other than founding father John Adams, says it best: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...” We also have that pesky First Amendment business, that grants not only freedom of religion but, as a result, freedom from religious oppression.

Americans have the freedom to worship as they please. We have the freedom not to worship. This is one of the fundamental underpinnings of our society.

As such, we need to remember that our religious beliefs are something personal and sacred that motivates us. This does not give us the right to inflict our beliefs onto others at the cost of their fundamental rights and freedoms. Though the gospel writers condemned homosexuality and sex outside of marriage, that does not grant us free rein to impede the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of others.

We are all free to believe as we see fit, but I find it morally repugnant that anyone would actively work to subvert the rights of others. I believe that consenting adults should be free to make decisions for themselves without being castigated by the community. If two consenting adults of the same sex wish to engage in a romantic or sexual relationship, that is their business, not yours. If two same-sex consenting adults want to wed, they should be free to do so, much in the same way that others are free to disagree with their decision on moral grounds.

Frankly, marriage is a two-fold institution. It is part legal coupling, and part religious coupling. Two atheists, for instance, could be wed in the eyes of the state, and no religious authority need consent. Why then should we allow religious dogma to dictate whether or not same-sex couples should have the right to wed? Pastors and other clergy can decide on their own whether or not to hold homosexual marriage ceremonies at their respective churches, but religious sentiment should not be permitted to dictate the overall legality of such unions.

In closing, I don’t find that it is the Christians who are being asked to compromise. Rather, because of their faith, many Christians are asking free Americans to compromise their rights and the rights of their fellow man, and that is truly shameful.

John M. McCormick

Athens

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