Religious or Civil?
(OKLAHOMA CITY) For those who don't quite understand the importance of religious beliefs, dogmas, and policies being kept separate from the civil rights of citizens, policies, and laws enacted by both state legislatures and the Congress, may I offer the controversy of same-gender marriage as one important aspect of this vital educational, political, and cultural Constitutional issue.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, ( http://www.interfaithalliance. org/) was recently in Oklahoma Cityand Tulsa promoting the need for civil dialog and listening to others in order to better understand both the acceptance and the opposition to ideas and actions that change our society and laws.
OETA, the Oklahoma public television network ( http://www.oeta.tv/), interviewed Dr. Gaddy about the difference between private religious practices and the public need for accommodation of diversity in our state and national laws. By going to OETA's link to the interview at http://www.oeta.tv/programs/ ondemand.html?list=oklahoma_ forum
or http://tinyurl.com/y2m65rw you can watch the interview at your convenience. Choose the program titled "Politics, Religion, and Civility."
Regardless of the state you live in Dr Gaddy gives excellent points you can use in your own discussions with friends, family, and elected representatives.
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Dr. Gaddy clearly states that marriage licenses begin with issuance from the state as required by law, followed by an optional choice made by the couple between a religious (you know what that means) or non-religious (county judge, justice of the peace) ceremony.
No clergy authorized by law in any state to conduct marriages will ever be required to perform marriages which contradict that clergy person's religious affiliation. In fact, Dr.Gaddy said he has declined to conduct some marriages in his own faith as he felt the couples were ill-prepared.
It appears to me that people who can not understand this simple precept and who actively work to block the civil rights of same-gendered people are either willfully acting stupid or are attempting to impose, through the police power of the state, the restrictive dogma of their particular religion. Some denominations recognize same-gender marriage (United Church of Christ, Unitarian, Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) ) while others do not (Roman Catholic, Mormon, Southern Baptist) as is their First Amendment right.
However, neither the accepting or objecting denominations have a right to interpose religious beliefs between the sanctified doors of their houses of worship and the county court house doors of the respective states.
James Nimmo is active in progressive issues and believes no one should be denied their equality because of the accidents of birth and circumstances.