America is more dysfunctional than it is democratic.
Its hard to mark a beginning point when the malady
first seeded itself into the political culture. But the ascendancy
of George W. Bush to the White House through the anointment of the
U.S. Supreme Court is a good beginning.
Since Bush wears his Christian faith on his sleeve,
its not surprising that beliefs in the absolutes of sin, doing
Gods will over secular considerations and embracing self-responsibility
as a redemptive solution to what ails the individual would seep into
the body politic. Like cheap cologne attempting to mask sweat, radical
Christianity spreads a fragrance of righteous from a bottle that is
Instead of constitutional principles securing the foundation
of freedom in this country, we hear about Judeo-Christian traditions
and what God wants and gave us. Instead of equal rights under the
law, we hear about the will of the majority. Instead of respecting
the quietness of the soul as one communicates with God over issues
of life and death, we hear that the government should be involved.
Believing in a culture of life depends upon
the political gain it may reap the right to life means a feeding
tube for one over universal health care; it means being against abortion
but for the war in Iraq; it means giving the government the freedom
to jail individuals without charge; and it means protecting
the institution of marriage by defining how love is expressed.
Outside of that definition, lies fear, and within fear
lies the beginnings of hate. The Kansas constitutional amendment against
same-sex marriage, to be voted on April 5, was crafted by the frightened,
those toying to become bearers of hatred for another.
We are the only minority where it is okay to openly
hate and discriminate against, said Dianna Kuhlman, executive
director of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas
The fear was evident and whiffs of hate lingered when
Dr. Jerry Johnston, senior pastor of the First Family Church in Johnson
County, said on KCUR March 30 during Steve Kraskes Up to
Date radio show: The homosexual community wants to advance
their agenda. Part of that (agenda) is the censorship of people who
believe in the bible literally.
Just how would married same-sex couples do that Rev.
Johnston? How would an acceptance of commitment to another censor
ones interpretation of Scripture?
Not passing this amendment and granting marriage
to homosexuals has the propensity to go beyond marriage (than just
for same-sex partners), said Johnston. He fears adults marrying
children and polygamy behavior evident with a literal interpretation
of the bible.
Johnston and other proponents like him talk of special
rights for homosexuals yet fail to mention the special rights
of churches in how the government exempts taxes, funds faith-based
activities with public money and protects the confidentiality of church
operations in legal proceedings.
Yet churches, like Johnstons, seem unable to protect
or defined the sacredness of marriage. We must send a signal
that marriage is a virtuous institution, he said. The
homosexual community has highjacked this issue. Most homosexuals do
not enter into long-term relationships.
Long-term or not, We want to be treated like everyone
else, said Kuhlman. Its the civil part of marriage
we are after the right to see your sick partner, make decisions
for your partner, so your children can be both of your children, and
the right of survivorship.
Kuhlman, like many in the gay and lesbian community,
are mystified by the messages of hate from ministers such as Johnston.
It increases the fear, said Kuhlman, and a lot of
it comes from ministers who are suppose to be preaching love but instead
But at Mayday for Marriage the title
of a rally at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS on April 3 scores
of area religious leaders will celebrate what they believe are faith
and family values.
Rick Fisher, executive director to the Heartland Mens
Chorus, one of 85 gay men choruses in the country, has both faith
and family values. Fisher is a member of the Grace United Methodist
Church in Olathe, KS. In terms of his faith in God and his religious
beliefs, the proposed Kansas constitutional amendment is wrong.
My response to their (the proponents) interpretation
(of the bible) is that there are scholarly disagreements with those
interpretations, said Fisher.
To Fisher, passage of this amendment is a way to enshrine
discrimination into the state constitution not a defense against
the deterioration of the institution of marriage.
My relationship with my partner does not affect
anyone elses marriage. If religious leaders are so concerned
about marriage, they must deal with the topic of divorce and not worry
about same-sex couples, he added.
At the same time (4 p.m.) the Mayday for Marriage rally
begins on April 3, the Heartland Mens Chorus will open its second
performance of All Gods Children at the Folly Theater.
The original song and story production, conceived by the Chorus, will
feature the Rev. Mel White, an ordained minister and founder of Soulforce,
a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual
violence against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.
At which event do you think love and tolerance will
more aptly unfold? At which event will the participants be more Christ-like?
Fisher said he was discouraged that a amendment
outlawing same-sex marriages was being considered in Kansas. Kuhlman
said she was very sad.
For me, its a dysfunction in America that we have to overcome.
Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at publisher_editEKC@kcactive.com.
© 2004 Discovery
Publications, Inc. 104 E. 5th St., Ste. 201, Kansas City, MO 64106
contents of eKC are the property of Discovery Publications, Inc.,
and protected under Copyright.