Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022 | 2 a.m.
I think I speak for most people when I say that December and its festive holiday season is my favorite time of year. Mine starts a week earlier, of course, with Thanksgiving, but you get my drift.
People just seem a bit happier, a bit more relaxed and a bit more in that spirit of giving — and giving to others.
So what better time is there to talk about all people everywhere being of good cheer, of good thoughts and of good intentions.
I am reminded of a quote attributed to the famous Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, who was straight from the Age of Enlightenment in the 1700s and a prime motivator of the thinking behind the American Revolution.
It says, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Whether or not Burke actually said that is of little consequence other than that his was an impressive mind and he was a man to be respected. The truth of the sentiment expressed is spot on and history has proven that time and again.
So it is in that vein and the Christmas spirit that I do something, say something — lest evil continue its triumphant attempt to trample over the hopes and dreams of this country I love.
There was an article recently in the conservative publication, The American Spectator — speaking for what it believes are American conservatives, I suspect — that appeared below the headline, “To Its Eternal Shame, the GOP Hands Victory to the Dems on Gay Marriage.”
It says, in part, when talking about bipartisanship in Congress as a solution to the country’s problems, “In truth, it is a source of them. More often than not, bipartisanship simply means that Republicans and Democrats have joined together to pass legislation damaging to the country’s future.”
Huh? Bipartisanship is now a bad thing?
Certainly, our country isn’t perfect and from time to time we have passed laws that have had to be repealed at a later date because we admit a national mistake. Take Prohibition as a prime example. Or Jim Crow laws which took longer for the admission of collective national wrongdoing.
But this ain’t that!
Gay marriage — and in this most recent iteration of congressional lawmaking, interracial marriage — are societal changes that have been a long time coming in America. They have been considered over decades and generations until Americans resolved to make this Union a bit more perfect by acknowledging that human beings can’t help who they love and that government should respect its citizens’ personal choices in such matters rather than repress them.
The article in question came at the issue from a religious perspective which warned us all that religious freedom and the freedom to marry who you love are two concepts incapable of coexisting.
And to that I have to say: According to whom? To what?
If the writer is pinning her position on the Bible — and admittedly I am not a scholar on such things, nor do I ever pretend to be — it seems to me that there are tens and probably hundreds of millions of people in this country who read and believe in what the Bible teaches who have come to the exact opposite conclusion.
So, and excuse my inartful words here, the Bible is of no help in this debate. Except …
There are those parts of the Bible — of which there are too many to recount — which tell us to treat our neighbors as we would ourselves, be kind and loving to the least of us, turn the other cheek, etc. All admonitions that it is love for our fellow human beings, not hate, that should inform our decisions and compel our actions toward one another.
So how on earth could anything having to do with religious freedom conflict with the desire of a large majority of American citizens in this democracy of ours who determine that gay marriage protections across the country should be the law?
The answer has to be that it conflicts only in the minds — albeit faithfully believing minds — of a minority of Americans.
So the conflict is not with religion, because a majority of Americans are religious and are informed by similar teachings from the Bible. The conflict resides in the way a minority of Americans choose to practice their faith. That’s all well and good.
But it is not a good enough reason, in my opinion, to compel freedom-loving Americans to cede their personal, God-given rights to others who choose to believe they are less, or worse.
This is the time of year when all men (and women, of course ) who claim to be of good cheer — who want to be happy, who want to be kind, and who want to be loving and considerate of their neighbors — should be thinking about how religious freedom and gay marriage can actually coexist.
And they can do that quite easily. We can just mind our own business.
And, truth be told, it took me a long time to understand that being an American is all about just that.
Enjoy this wonderful holiday season.