Writing Discrimination Into Our Consititution [By Rev. Charles Wilson]

Today I read an article regarding Amendment One that I just had to share. Reverend Wilson is such an eloquent writer; I found myself saying “YES YES YES” and nodding in agreement while reading his piece. He beautifully writes what I have always felt, but haven’t found the words to say. I hope those against same-sex marriage can read it with an open mind, there is something to it. 

The right to vote is one of the distinctive features of a democracy, and exercising that right is essential for a democratic government to operate as designed. The May 8 primary election affords us the rare opportunity to cast a vote that could amend our state constitution, and any alteration to our defining legal document is to be taken seriously. The ballot will include Amendment One, which defines and limits marriage as being between one woman and one man. I will be voting against the proposed amendment, because of the profound negative effects it would have on citizens of our state. The rationales for my negative vote are listed below.

First, a North Carolina statute already prohibits same-sex marriage, and the proposed amendment is pointless and ill-advised.

Second, while there are various reasons to vote in favor of the proposed amendment, the overwhelming objections to same-sex marriages are framed in religious terms. To be sure, there are those who have clear, sincere religious convictions that define marriage as only being between one man and one woman, and these rights will be preserved even if the proposed amendment is defeated. Faith groups that hold such convictions will continue to practice their religion as they choose. It is not appropriate, however, for those religious convictions to be written into law that applies to all citizens. Religious liberty is guaranteed in both the North Carolina and United States Constitutions. There are also citizens of our state who have clear, sincere religious convictions and believe that marriage is a right and privilege for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.

A compelling argument could be made that prohibiting same-sex marriage is violating the religious freedom of many of our citizens. Throughout the state there are congregations that would welcome a repeal of the present statute and that would celebrate the right to solemnize marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Are their rights not being violated? Rather than squandering our energy, time and money on Amendment One, we should be using those same resources to repeal the existing law.

Third, passage of Amendment One will simply reinforce the present government-sanctioned discrimination. Discrimination and hatred of minority groups will be with us forever, because harboring prejudicial attitudes seems to be a character trait for some people. Government-sanctioned discrimination, on the other hand, is far more toxic and damaging to the societal structure. Amendment One will further discriminate against citizens of our state.

We know how devastating such discrimination can be, because the history of our country has examples aplenty of how government discrimination became accepted public policy. There was the internment during World War II of people of Japanese ancestry who, as innocent American citizens, were corralled into concentration camps within the borders of our country. None can forget the Jim Crow laws of the South that essentially extended slavery for an additional 100 years. Today, we in North Carolina are struggling with how or whether to compensate victims of the government sterilization program that was deemed necessary to protect our society from those thought to be undesirable. An individual acting on discriminatory attitudes can be harmful and threatening, but government discrimination can relegate an entire classification of citizens to second-class citizenship. Amendment One as government discrimination will embolden hate groups and, by implication, endorse homophobia.

How can we even think of discriminating against our own citizens who pay taxes, contribute to our society, worship in our congregations, serve in the military and represent us as elected officials? We are not talking of some kind of alien creatures; we are talking of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and our law-abiding neighbors. In the United States, such discrimination is anathema.

The legislators who orchestrated the passage of the proposed amendment have marketed it by reminding us that we are the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment discriminating against our gay and lesbian citizens. The reminder is intended to shame the voters into getting on board and conforming to the norm. These reminders are reminiscent of the adolescent peer pressure we all experienced in our youth. We are not adolescents and are not to be persuaded by such manipulation. In North Carolina it is against the law to discriminate against anyone based on religion, race, national origin, age, gender or handicap. We are allowed, however, to discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation. This is unacceptable in a democracy.
By Reverend Charles Frances Wilson

Source: Winston Salem Journal

10 thoughts on “Writing Discrimination Into Our Consititution [By Rev. Charles Wilson]

  1. I agree with you on that, but I don’t agree with holding non-Christians to the Lord’s law. If Hindu people were running the country and saying the nation should not be allowed to eat beef, I would not be pleased. I have no problem eating beef and believe the good Lord put cows on this planet just for me to eat! 🙂 In many ways, I view the same-sex marriage law the same way. It’s not allowing people to marry based on mostly religious grounds.

    Once again, as a Christian I believe in and try to follow God’s commandments to the best of my ability, but I still don’t think it’s fair to make adults who have made a conscious decision to not follow Jesus, do the same. Or even homosexuals who ARE Christians have the decision made for them as to whether it’s “right” or not. I know several gay Christian men who feel right in their walk with God. Who are we, as strangers, to judge them?

    • I think you might have misunderstood why I quoted Mark there, but it doesn’t matter now.

      I don’t think we’d be judging them, though they might think otherwise. We would be holding them accountable- calling them out, so to speak. That too is biblical. Just as if a Christian was a perpetual gossiper/slanderer. We should and should want to tell them, “Hey, you’re gossiping and speaking terribly of people. God doesn’t like or want that.” I believe that a Christian who is truly right in their walk would want to change. That is really the basis of Christianity- man is sinful, God offers forgiveness, man can choose to accept it freely (Christianity) or not (a state of unbelief or faith aside from Christianity). I am not saying these gay men you know are not Christian of course. I AM saying that they are misguided and blinded by their sin if they are proud of their homosexuality. I believe it is possible for a Christian to feel the symptoms (for lack of a better word. I hate that word. I don’t think it’s a disease) of homosexuality. I don’t believe a Christian with a right walk would refuse to try and turn from their sin. I don’t view homosexuality as any different than other sins and I, therefore, believe it can be tackled in the same way as other sins, even if science someday proves to me that it is in people’s DNA to be gay. I would argue that it is in people’s DNA to be sinful.

      I would encourage you also to look at your definition of “fair.” I don’t necessarily disagree with how you used it here (I don’t think it’s fair to force anyone to do anything), but I ask you: Do you believe that God is a just God? Do you believe that He is honest and fair? Can action based on God’s commands, then, truly be unfair?

  2. I don’t know much about Rev. Wilson, here, but I would assume, judging both by how he speaks and by his title, that he would say he’s a Christian. Assuming this, I have one issue with the way he and many socially left-leaning Christians in the United States think. This is that, as Christians, Rev. Wilson and I are called to be Christians before we are anything else. This means that we are called to be Christians before being Americans.

    I completely understand where Rev. Wilson comes from. The American in me says, “Yeah! Let them marry! It’s the American thing to do!” Unfortunately for the American in me, the Christian in me shouts, “No! No! Your Heavenly Father does not approve!”

    I chose to go with the Christian me because I believe that America can pass away, but that the Christian faith is eternal. I do not believe that the words of any American document are as sacred as the God-breathed words of the Bible. And this is where it seems that Rev. Wilson and I would butt heads. He is holding American law just as highly as he holds scripture, if not higher. This, I believe, is wrong of a Christian.

    I’m going to play the woe-is-me card, not seeking sympathy, but to make a point. I recently moved from Texas to Iowa- from socially red to socially blue- for the sake of my education. In Iowa, same-sex marriage is legal; in Texas, it is not. I work at a country club where we often host weddings (both ceremonies and receptions). You can see where this is going. Recently, we hosted a gay wedding. As a Christian, socially conservative, American, I felt less free while they (the couple) felt as though they are freer to do whatever. Soon, I don’t doubt, I will begin to see gay couples being married in churches, places I view as houses of God. What it boils down to is the question: Who has the right to feel freer in a situation? This is problematic because someone is going to walk away feeling persecuted. Voting against same-sex marriage, as I see it, is less of an attack on the freedom of homosexual couples and more of a defense for the freedom of Christians (and Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) who have “religious” convictions against same-sex marriage.

    I completely agree that faith should not be made law, but that does not mean we should support laws that go against our faith, simply because someone else does not share our beliefs.

    Essay ends here. 🙂

    • Now THAT is the type of disagreement that I enjoy reading and completely respect. You have some really good insight, and I actually agree with several of your points. As a Christian myself, I do often feel conflicted about what the Bible says about homosexuals, and then how that relates to reality in the 21st Century.

      I guess the important thing, apart from all laws, is to just love people regardless of who they love. From your writing, it sounds like you do just that but still remain strong in your conviction to not support same-sex marriage. Your last statement shows your point of view well and I respect that a lot, thanks for your thoughts!

      • Oh, but, for us, it IS law!

        “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’
        ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”There is no commandment greater than these.'”
        Mark 12:28-31 🙂

  3. In actuality, there’s very little too it except for the all-too-common false equivalency between different forms of “discrimination.”

    Homosexuality is a choice and is expressed in a set of behaviors, race isn’t.

    Nor is there a right to marriage in any case.

    Personally, I not against queers getting married but that doesn’t mean the Rev. Wilson’s arguments truly hold water or that they’re anything put a plea to emotion.

    • Simply using the phrase “in actuality” doesn’t make something a true statement. YOU believe that homosexuality is a choice and is expressed in a set of behaviors. I think that that mindset and perspective is exactly what this whole article is about. Just because one person (or group of people) believes a certain behavior or law is wrong doesn’t mean it is, it is simply a personal belief. What makes one persons judgement of right vs wrong more valid than the next?

      It’s what humans have been fighting over for thousands of years! “My religion is right because it’s what I believe and if you don’t believe it then you are stupid. Let me hate you and show you how awful I can be, in the name of Jesus.” It’s silly if you ask me.

      You using the word “queers” shows your own ignorance and close-mindedness towards people different than you. If you are going to try and persuade people to see your point of view, at least use a non-derogatory term. All I can hope for at this point is that you are not a self-proclaimed Christian, that disgusts me out more than anything.

      Also, it’s “to” not “too” in your first sentence. 😉

    • No, I’m not even close to Christian and, as I’ve said, I don’t have any personal issue with queers – any and all terms involving them seem to offend someone, so I choose the shortest – getting the benefits of government recognition of their contract to marry (That’s all we’re really talking about).

      As for homosexuality being a choice – history makes that clear, since being queer while young was thought to be normal throughout most of Man’s history with people being expected to outgrow it, which they by and large did. So too does the number of closeted individuals who’ve married and sired or bore children, then later returned to homosexuality.

      None of that changes the simple fact that Wilson’s position is little more than an attempt to generate sympathy by falsely equating what queers experience with what other groups have throughout history, with a bit of hyperbolic Slippery Slope fallacies thrown in for effect. He’s done so successfully in your case.

      Other arguments might be much more valid.

      • Hmmmm…This is a real question, not snark.

        Since neither of us is willing to change our opinion on the actual matter at hand and you seem particularly invested in Wilson’s arguments being sounds, why am I supposedly the close-minded one?

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