By: Jonathan S. Hogue ~Opinions & Editorials Editor~
On the surface, Christianity is not a difficult religion. God gave man a simple instruction: Love each other. That is our only responsibility. The role of judge ultimately belongs to God. Simple enough, right? When listening to politicians, county clerks and conservative personalities speak about Christianity, I think some people forget where they fall in the judge/sinner relationship that is essential to the religion.
Recently, America was introduced to a new judge, the “heroic” Kentucky Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis. In opposition to the recent US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Davis refused to issue marriage licenses because she believed the state’s adherence to federal statues went against her religious beliefs. While it is fine for Davis to believe in traditional marriage, it is interesting that she, Mike Huckabee and others did not use their bully pulpit when government officials ignored other religious no-nos.
Davis, Huckabee and Ted Cruz barked at the media for not respecting religious liberty and weakening Christians’ rights in the public sector. What is baffling about this issue is that Davis, Huckabee and Cruz were silent when officials allowed the government to issue divorce decrees, legalize prostitution in some parts of the country or cut off aid to the poor.
God did not provide Christianity as a means to withhold one group’s rights. Davis, Huckabee and Cruz are wrong when they publically profess the name of God to withhold a gay couple’s right to marry. Hypocritical conservatives conveniently forget God when they support laws that take away a low-income American’s chance at getting affordable healthcare or oppose initiatives that lower carbon emissions so that people have clean air and work so that food stamps are not cut during an economic downturn. These issues, not playing the role of God, are important for people of faith to focus on.
I commend people who defend their belief in traditional marriage but do not subvert other aspects of Christianity while doing so. Hypocrisy is not beneficial for any debate and certainly does not reflect the aims of Christianity. There are numerous issues that require believers of all faiths to join together to combat. People cannot say that God only wants them to condemn gay and lesbians while income inequality exemplifies the Bible’s claim that, “That the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Davis and pandering politicians like Huckabee and Cruz poorly represent Christianity. It is not enough for Christians to focus on gay marriage, abortion or divisive social issues as the only things God wants us to address. God’s people are dying from sickness, hunger and water insecurity. Start using Christianity to bring people together.
I am proud to say that I am a Christian who believes that all of God’s children are worthy of love. I want every individual to have the right to marry, and believe that government should not be used as a means to withhold someone’s basic right to love. However, I am not focusing my attention solely on this issue. As a Christian, I want public debate to take a holistic approach on how people, from a diverse set of beliefs, can use resources to make this world a more hospitable place.
When people face God, He will not ask for a head count of how many gay couples you stopped from getting married, how many speeches you made professing an adherence to religious liberty or how successfully you divided others. God will ask: What did you do for those in suffering? He wants us to act as men and women for the common good.
Folks, believe the Word and not the hysteria. Love your neighbor and leave the judgment work to God. In the end, you will be happy that you did not follow the crowd, but followed the instuctions that God gave you.