What follows is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News about the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. After my letter are the responses my letter elicited from local Christians. The last letter is from Willie Pack, and his letter is the FIRST letter to the paper defending me. I appreciate Pack’s frequent letters to the editor. It is nice to have a fellow bear-poker.
Supreme court stood for fairness, justice (June 30, 2013)
The U.S. Supreme Court rightly determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Of course, those who oppose same-sex marriage are infuriated over the Court’s decision.
Mike Huckabee spoke for a number of people when he said the justices asserted that they were bigger than God. Huckabee, like others of similar persuasion, wrongly assumed that DOMA was all about what the Christian Bible said on the matter of same-sex marriage. According to Christian fundamentalists like Mike Huckabee, God and the Christian Bible condemn same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
What they fail to understand is that God and the Bible don’t matter when it comes to settling constitutional issues. The Supreme Court is God when it comes to determining what is constitutional. They have the final say. As citizens, we are free to amend the Constitution, but until we do, we must live according to the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court.
Jehovah, Allah, or Jesus have no say when it comes to what is the rule of law. The sooner people like Mike Huckabee understand that the United States is a secular state the better off it will be for our republic.
The Bible is not the standard by which we determine what our laws will be. We the people, through our elected officials and the ballot box, decide what our laws will be. Christians are free to live by the teachings of the Bible, but they have no right to demand that everyone live by those teachings.
For the past 40 years, evangelicals have been repeatedly told that the United States is a Christian nation, a nation that should follow the teachings of the Bible. As interpreted by evangelicals, no matter how many times historians correct their errant thinking, they continue to think that the United States is a Christian nation meant to be governed by the Bible.
I have come to the conclusion that trying to correct their errant thinking is a fool’s errand. Like those who deny global warming, think Obama is a Kenyan, think Ronald Reagan was a great president, and think Fox News is really a news channel, there is no remedy for their willful ignorance.
What matters is fairness and justice for all. Same-sex marriage is a matter of equal protection under the law. Gays have a right to expect to be treated equally when it comes to the law. In no way does this Supreme Court decision affect how evangelical Christians live their lives. They are free to practice their religion and get married just like they always have. Their ministers are free to not marry same-sex couples just like I am free to marry same-sex couples once same-sex marriage becomes legal in Ohio.
I applaud the Supreme Court for standing on the side of fairness, justice, and equal protection under the law. The battle now moves to the states and I suspect here in Ohio the battle will be long and bitter. I can only hope fairness and justice will ultimately prevail.
Only one way to change the Constitution (July 7, 2013)
Bruce Gerencser should use facts in his letters. His latest rant is so full of errors as to make his point completely obtuse. Here are a few examples:
1. The Supreme Court is not the final word as Gerencser claims. Article 3, Section 2, sentence 2 of the U.S. Constitution states: “In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.” Did Gerencser miss the last part of the sentence where it says that the U.S. Congress can overturn a Supreme Court decision and then order the court never to hear another like it? This happened three times in the last 15 years in the Newdow cases.
2. Gerencser’s claim of the U.S. not being a Christian nation is absurd, as I can provide hundreds of thousands of documents — from the National Archives, the U.S. Congressional Library, Founding Fathers’ personal documents, etc. — not only proving that all our laws are based on Christian principals, but that this country did indeed start as a Christian nation. Or is Gerencser and others like him claiming that all of history is incorrect because they say so? That is the fool’s errand. Gerencser tries again to claim global warming is fact, yet NASA has repeatedly stated that global warming does not exist and the earth has not warmed in well over 10 years. Now is Gerencser claiming to know more then NASA?
3. The fact that Gerencser can marry anyone is laughable. He received his claimed ministerial credentials by professing a faith in a deity and swearing to follow that religions teachings. So unless he does so, then his authority to marry anyone under the same is null and void. Anyone he marries could actually find that they are not and never have been married. And last, the only way to change our Constitution is by a constitutional amendment.
According to state election rules direct from the secretary of state’s office, four million people voted in the last general election, and you must receive an equal amount of 10 percent of the voting population from each of the 88 counties, meaning that in a county like Defiance you must have 4,546 confirmed voters or the petition would fail in Defiance.
Without Defiance being included, the constitutional amendment would also fail. The chance you are going to get these signatures on a petition is slim to none. Even if it does pass, there is still the small matter of the Boy Scouts decision that clearly says that we cannot be forced to accept homosexuals, and this falls under the 10th Amendment which cannot be overturned by a decision of the Supremes as it trumps them, so what exactly has changed? Nothing.
History and facts yet again destroy the views of Gerencser. He should be used to that by now.
Communicating God’s warnings (July 10, 2013)
It is said that Christians are infuriated by the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriages, but in reality we are saddened by this decision, for we recognize it as another nail in our country’s coffin as we spiral down into more immortality.
When Jesus Christ, God’s only son, was here on earth, the pharisees (Israel’s religious leaders) asked him if it was helpful for the Jews to pay taxes to Caesar (Roman government). He asked, “Whose picture is on your coins?” They replied, “It is Caesar.” Jesus said, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give unto God what is God’s.”
So the Supreme Court, according to Caesar, gave the people what they believed belonged to them. But is this nation willing to give God what belongs to him? The Bible is God’s instructions from our creator to his human race on how we should live to show our gratitude to him for our life and be able to live peaceably with each other. He gave us laws in the Bible so we would know how a holy God expected us to reflect who he was, but in our “free will” we have decided to disobey these laws and brought death on ourselves. (Romans 3:10)
According to God’s word (the Bible), lying, stealing, adultery, murder and a man lying down with a man sexually, among others, are sins against God’s laws. (Romans 1:27-32). The penalty for our sins is death (Romans 6:23)
If you don’t believe the Bible is God’s instructions to sinful man how to live and their need of Jesus Christ to save them from God’s judgment on their soul (man has a body, soul and spirit) then you are “free” to sin all you choose to. But a Christian’s love of God and the human race compels us to speak out to people (Bill of Rights and Jesus’ gospel) the warnings about sin in God’s truthful Bible. (Romans 5:8 and 10:9-10)
Neither God nor Christians hate the person who commits sin for we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), but rather hates sin that destroys people’s lives, families and societies. (John 3:16)
Would this nation to be better off if we decided to obey God’s laws? Look back to our country’s foundation and the way God blessed us for our obedience. Our Constitution and Declaration of Independence were born out of lessons we learned of other nation’s tyranny and reflects our forefathers’ belief in God and biblical principles that would form a great society.
Anyone who promotes the sin of homosexuality is an enemy of God and the person he encourages to sin against his own body and God’s laws. This would be the same as promoting adultery, an enemy of families; promoting abortion, an enemy of innocent, unborn children; or pornography, an enemy of men in their thoughts and respect for women or wives in their marriage vows as well as against God.
Christians speak up about sin of a nation because God wants to use us as a warning of his anger about sin that destroys his human race. These are not our judgments, as we have none, but rather God’s warnings about sin’s results.
“Tolerance” is a relative term (July 14, 2013)
Gay rights, tolerance and Paula Deen.
The reader may wonder what the above topics have in common. They are all part of our current national discourse — and all relevant considerations in discussing the condition of our free society.
The country has become so sensitized to intolerance that it has become more intolerant than ever!
One recent example of such radical intolerance was the Paula Deen fiasco. She was a popular celebrity with a cooking show on the Food Network. She apparently admitted during a deposition that 20 years ago she uttered a “racial slur.” She tried to explain that acceptable terminology was different back then, but her explanation fell on deaf ears. The very next day her sponsors quit and her show was canceled. She was instantly condemned by those “tolerant” people.
Another example of intolerance disguising itself as a plea for “fairness” was the letter to the editor of June 30 written by Bruce Gerencser. Mr. Gerencser was campaigning for fairness and justice for same-sex couples while bashing all sorts of folks who may disagree with him on a wide variety of topics. It would seem that someone who pleads for “fairness” for his own chosen group should practice what he preaches and be fair to others with views contrary to his, instead of labeling them en masse “wilfully ignorant.”
I do agree with Mr. Gerencser on one small point: In discussing the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, he said that in interpreting constitutionality, the U.S. Supreme Court is “God.” (I would have said “god.”) Their decision is the law of the land. But he should read it again. It did not say that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was wholly unconstitutional. It said that one section was. The only holding was that same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as straight couples.
The Supreme Court did not say that states cannot prohibit same-sex marriages. That issue has not been decided.
In his first campaign, President Obama was quoted as saying that the United States is no longer a “Christian nation.” I was rankled by that statement, but I understood what he meant. He meant that this nation welcomed all faiths, not just Christians. Mr. Gerencser emphasized that this is a secular nation, and is not to be “governed” by the Bible. While I agree with that in principle, I believe that the nation should be governed in accordance with the philosophy of the majority of its citizens. If that philosophy is the same as the principles taught by Christ, so be it.
This nation has been caught up in the obsession of granting to every minority (no matter how small) every possible right, privilege, advantage or demand that the rights of the majority seem to be disappearing.
I believe in tolerance for another person’s views and even tolerance for another person’s sexual idiosyncracies, but when the “tolerated” minority takes advantage of the tolerance of the majority and asserts “rights” contrary to the will of the majority, what happens to the concept of majority rule?
When “tolerance” becomes the mantra for those seeking to change society, and clarifications are not acceptable and dissent is rejected, have we not sacrificed our freedom of speech in our quest for “fairness?”
By the way, I happen to think that Ronald Reagan was one of our greatest presidents, and I will not accept Mr. Gerencser’s intolerant epithet for that belief.
Atheists will wish they had believed (July 17 ,2013)
So the atheists believe that there is no God and that they can put a monument in the form of a bench beside the granite stone with the Ten Commandment signifying that it is empty and there is no God.
We believers serve a God that cannot be seen with the carnal eye. God is so holy I believe, if we see him, we would surely die. Our God is invisible, he is a spirit and spirits cannot be seen. Who is to say that the Lord God didn’t work it out for them to place that bench beside the granite stone so he could sit there, relax and admire the granite stone with his Ten Commandments on it?
On judgment day, they are going to wish they had believed on him who they cannot see. By then it will be too late. May the Lord have mercy on them.
Focus on issues, not the person (July 21, 2013)
This letter is my brief response to Daniel Gray’s recent letter to the editor.
Gray continues to paint me as a liar, a deceiver, immoral, and an all-round bad person. Gray does not know me personally, so I am not sure how he comes to the conclusions he does about me. I have never made one of my letters personal, yet Daniel Gray and a few other letter writers think it is okay to attack my character and suggest that I am not a good person.
As a public figure, I know I must endure such attacks, but I wish my critics would focus on the issues rather than the person. If they would like to have a public discussion on these issues, I am quite willing to participate in any public forum they put together.
For the third time Gray suggests that I am not legally able to marry people and that anyone married by me is in danger of having their marriage invalidated. Gray seems to not understand the legal requirements for being licensed to marry people in Ohio. I meet all the statutory requirements and I am duly licensed to marry people in Ohio. Anyone can verify this by doing a ministerial license search on the Ohio Secretary of state’s website.
Some claim to have all the answers (August 25, 2013)
Most Christians are biblically illiterate and just assume that whatever is said from the pulpit has God’s seal of approval. Also, by claiming the moral high road of biblical literalism, fundamentalist have life and faith wrapped up in a neat little package, believing they have all the answers.
Furthermore, self-righteous, self-serving fundamentalist and evangelicals on both sides of the political spectrum insist on trying to restrict or mold God to fit within the narrow confines of their beliefs, then, claim him for their side in order to promote themselves and their own political agendas.
If God exists, he does not dabble in politics, and much too often those who claim to speak for him end up speaking only for themselves.
Fundamentalists like Richard Mastin are always making apocalyptic predictions, literal doom and gloom for this nation and all of us if we do not follow their narrow-minded belief system.
What would be the consequences for us and this nation if we accepted their beliefs and were governed with a literal interpretation of the Bible? The violation of many biblical texts is punishable by death, and women are told to subject themselves to their husbands, thus becoming second-class citizens. If Americans are going to be the new chosen people as most fundamentalists seem to believe, surely we will have to enforce all of God’s holy texts. The ignoring of inconvenient biblical passages must cease.
The turmoil in the Middle East is proof positive that religion and government do not mix. Many Christians, however, will say the Christian religion is a peaceful religion and that cannot happen here. Anyone who believes this should take an unbiased look at the history of the Christian religion.
Believers have used biblical passages to kill and to justify killing, slavery, hate campaigns against homosexuals, minorities, women and anyone who questions their beliefs or believes differently, leaving a trail of pain, horror, blood and death that is undeniable.
Our secular government guarantees all of its citizens freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Fundamentalists, however, have made many clumsy attempts aimed at silencing Mr. Gerencser through intimidation and denigration.
Can anyone doubt that if they had the power of past ages, they would summon him before the court of the Inquisition? They all seem to be vying for the position of head inquisitor. What would be his crime other than not sharing their beliefs and daring to say so publicly? Are they really that intolerant of others’ beliefs or just afraid their beliefs cannot stand up to a little scrutiny?
With all of the different religions, denominations and sects on this planet, one thing is for certain: We are all going to hell according to somebody’s religion.
Graphic drawn by Tom Fishburne