One Christian’s Word on Amendment 1 in North Carolina – Why I Will Not Support It

I am a Christian.  I identify myself thusly.  I believe that God has forgiven my past sins and will forgive my future sins; and I know I will sin again because I am not a perfect being, though I try not to sin.  I struggle with the concept of sin on a day-to-day basis.  And because of that I am now struggling with this proposed amendment on the upcoming May 8th ballot in North Carolina that supposedly will “legally and officially define marriage as being a union between one man and one woman” – which if you think about it is kind of redundant since same-sex marriage is ALREADY illegal in this state.

I am a Christian.  As a Christian, I am commanded to show Christ to the world in all that I do.  But I’m conflicted about the Christ that is represented in churches today as opposed to the Christ who lived, died, and was resurrected two thousand years ago.

I’m going to talk about Jesus for just a minute, and then I’m going to explain exactly why I have a huge problem with Amendment 1.

Who was Jesus Christ, anyway?  He was God’s Son, yes, begotten of the Spirit on a virgin child named Mary, born in Bethlehem during a census year and raised by a carpenter in Nazareth.  The neighbors probably referred to Him in whispers as Mary’s bastard, and tsked and lordamercied and blessed Joseph’s heart for raising the boy anyway.  The Romans would have viewed Him as a demigod, half god, half man.  They wouldn’t have been too far off – genetically speaking, at any rate.  But Jesus was more than a demigod, because where the Roman gods tended not to claim their halfling offspring, Yahweh God not only claimed Jesus, He anointed Jesus, gave Jesus authority, and sent Jesus out into public ministry.

Jesus, of course, went down Main Street and gathered to Him the deacons and elders of the Church, appointed several boards and committees to oversee His ministry, made sure the Women’s Auxiliary was going to bring fried chicken and potato salad, and promptly held a tent revival where He preached Hell and Damnation and Fire and Brimstone and –

Wait, wait, hold on – that’s not right.  Hang on, let me refer to my Bible… ok, I made a mistake.  Sorry, I got Then and Now confused.

Jesus went down to the Sea of Galilee and recruited a group of smelly, sweaty, fishy fisherman who happened to not be very good fishermen to begin with.  He also recruited a tax collector, a half-breed foreigner, a foreign doctor, a pair of old maids, a whore, and assorted other rejects and dregs of society.  Jesus developed such a large following that the major television evangelists and church leaders – sorry, wrong story again – Jesus developed such a large following that the Pharisees felt their own power was being threatened and they conspired with the half-breed foreigner to sell Him to the Romans for crucifixion.  The Romans, pagans that they were, recognized Jesus as a demigod and Pontius Pilate begged the Jewish leaders not to kill Him – Pilate was a good pagan and read all the right books and had a pretty good idea what would happen if he crucified a demigod.  The Pharisees (not to be confused with all of the Jewish people, just as Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t represent all Christians) paid enough people in the crowd to insist that Jesus be crucified, and Pilate very wisely and publicly – and literally – washed his hands of the matter, advising, “This man’s blood is on your hands, not mine.”  Smart man, Pontius Pilate.  Very smart.

So Jesus was betrayed, betrayed again, betrayed three more times, and then crucified.  I’m not going to elaborate on the gory details this time around – you’re smart, your imagination works, and I’m pretty sure you’re at least vaguely familiar with the story.  Suffice it to say there can’t be too very many worse ways to die.

Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead, left the tomb, and showed Himself first to the church elders –

Oh, got Then and Now mixed up again.

Jesus showed Himself first to – are you ready for this? – THE WHORE!

Now I’ll grant you it’s very common knowledge that when He let the whore join His team, He told her “Go and sin no more.”  And she did a very good job of that, by all indications.  But if Then were actually Now, she’d still be referred to as The Whore, if not out loud then in peoples’ thoughts, because that’s how we Christians tend to behave these days.  We’d be extremely jealous, we’d wonder what was going on between those two, and the most righteous holier-than-thou among us would throw a fit and leave the church for not being the one He chose to see Him first.

Go find Todd Agnew’s song My Jesus, and listen to it, and try to reconcile that with the Jesus our church leaders are painting for us today. 

So, now for Amendment 1.

I believe that homosexuality is a sin, an abomination unto God.  But is one sin greater than another?  Is a gay man in more danger of hell than a thief, or a habitual liar, or an adulterer, or a murderer, or a child molester, or an animal abuser?

My understanding of Scripture is that no sin is greater than another in God’s eyes, but that all sins can be forgiven if we but repent.  Ah, repentance.  It’s so nice that we have all those gun-wielding soldiers going around rounding up sinners and pagans and homosexuals and bringing them to the town square and forcing them to repent and killing the ones who refuse.  Heaven would be a pretty empty place if we didn’t force Christianity on the unbelieving masses, just like Jesus went around with His sword-wielding followers back in the day and beheaded everyone who disagreed with Him or refused to convert to His religion (which, for the record, was Judaism, not Christianity – Jesus was a Jew, fyi – true story).

But wait a minute.  IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.  We have to CHOOSE to repent, we have to humble ourselves before the Lord and ASK for forgiveness – which He then grants, He doesn’t expect us to grovel or do penance or suffer flagellation or any of that stuff, all we have to do is ASK, which very clearly indicates CHOICE.

I’m not going to get into whether homosexuality is a choice – as it happens my belief on that matter is complicated and involves predisposition as well as choice, with one being no less valid than the other – but that’s another blog for another day.

What I am going to get into is why Amendment 1 is dangerous.

First, we live in a free country.  We’re free to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, wiccan, Satanist, whatever – that’s our choice, and no one religious group is allowed to force us to join any other religious group.  We’re also free to be gay or straight.  We’re free to be doctors or work at McDonald’s, if we so choose.  We’re free to join the military or not.  We’re free to get married or just live together (though in some states, NC being one of them, there are still archaic laws on the books making co-habitation of non-married intimate couples illegal).  In short, we’re free to do ANYTHING that doesn’t 1) break a law; and 2) infringe on the civil liberties of any other American citizen.

Amendment 1 infringes on the civil liberties of practicing homosexuals.  We wouldn’t be considering a Jim Crow amendment today, people – so why are we considering a 21st century amendment that is so very like a Jim Crow amendment that you can strike homosexual or same-sex from the verbiage and insert “black” or “interracial?”

The language in Amendment 1 is so vague that there is question whether or not co-habitating straight couples will retain protection under law.  In Ohio, co-habitating straight couples LOST the protection of domestic violence laws when a similar amendment was passed – this is NOT GOOD!

Amendment 1 will prohibit biological children of one partner in a homosexual union from being covered by the health insurance of the non-biological same-sex parent.  Also NOT GOOD.    That language is also vague enough that it could lead to biological children of co-habitating straight couples not being eligible for health coverage in certain cases.

Amendment 1 will prohibit employers from offering any benefits to couples living in civil unions, whether they are gay or straight.  And you know what?  Quite honestly, it’s no skin off my nose if Live-in Boyfriend wants to cover long-term Live-in Girlfriend as a civil partner on his health insurance policy – or if Gay Man wants to cover long-term Live-in Gay Boyfriend on HIS policy!  It costs me NOTHING.

Yes, American society’s moral values are degenerating.  Yes, Americans have become loose, amoral, and promiscuous.  Yes, I see this as a moral problem – but I don’t know that the way to combat this is to force the religious and moral beliefs of one group onto another.  Remember that part about salvation being a choice?  We cry foul when Christians are persecuted in Middle Eastern countries… but with legislation like Amendment 1, we’re becoming no better than they, and are in fact hypocrites to cry foul when we ourselves are persecuting those who are different right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I have a feeling that if Jesus was around today, He wouldn’t do his recruiting at the Baptist or Catholic or Methodist or Moravian Church.  He’d go to the gay bars, the strip clubs, the crack houses, and the ghetto, and He’d gather to Him the dregs of society.  He would tell them, just as He did Mary Magdalene the whore, “Go, and sin no more.”  And you know, even though I know that there are homosexuals who are going to disagree with me on this one – those people would follow Jesus, and they would for the most part do their utmost to sin no more.  They wouldn’t always be successful – but in becoming a follower of the Christ, it’s not success that measures salvation – it’s the trying, and failing, and repenting, and getting up, and brushing off, and trying again that count.

I am a Christian.  And while I do personally believe that homosexuality is a sin and a moral flaw, I am vehemently OPPOSED to Amendment 1.

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15 thoughts on “One Christian’s Word on Amendment 1 in North Carolina – Why I Will Not Support It

    1. Thank you! And I agree. I still have to side with the right wing on certain political issues – but I’m really irked with both parties right now for turning social issues INTO political issues, when there needs to be a very clear divide!

    1. Sarah, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I really and truly hope that people who read this will come away with the understanding that it is ok as a Christian to disagree with certain beliefs and/or lifestyles but it’s not ok to force Christian beliefs on those who believe differently.

    1. As a Christian I am sad that it’s ok to deny civil rights to any group regardless of their religious beliefs. We don’t have to agree with their lifestyle. It’s possible to love the sinner and hate the sin; however, in my experience, too many so-called Christians are eaten up over their hatred of everything and everyone who is different. I hope you realize that being a homosexual is no worse than being a liar or being hateful or gossiping. The Bible says that God doesn’t rank sins, that He views them all the same. And Jesus Himself said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

      I hope you also read the part where I pointed out that heterosexual unmarried couples AND their children will also be hurt by this amendment.

      And I really hope you realize that when we start attacking the civil rights of groups who are different, then we are opening ourselves up to persecution as well.

  1. Trying to be clever and cute about the failures of Christians is not an argument, and misses the whole point of the Marriage Protection Amendment. This is a public policy issue, as in, what is most conducive to the common good of everyone? Most of the claims you make about what the amendment will do have been debunked. The Ohio law you cite was overturned. Jesus himself quoted Genesis on the value of marriage and said “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” This has very little to do with gays or civil rights; it is about preserving the family and promoting the public good.

    1. It took two years for the Ohio law to be overturned… but the fact that gay marriage is ALREADY illegal in this state and will likely remain so until the LEGISLATURE rules otherwise is fact and cannot be debunked.

      It IS about civil rights rather than marriage. In the end, no government entity can ever force the church to recognize a homosexual union as marriage. But on the other hand, just to keep things even – the church can’t force the government to NOT recognize unions that aren’t marriage.

      I have no problem with an amendment that says, “Marriage is defined by the state of NC as a union between one man and one woman.” Period. This amendment does no such thing. That’s why I oppose it.

      This is about social policy – but it’s also about civil rights, and when you get right down to the wire it’s dangerous for the church of all institutions to step in and attempt to deprive a group of which it doesn’t approve of their civil rights. If this succeeds, who will the church target next? Muslims? Vegans? Or – and this is something most quasi-Christians don’t bother to consider – will this give the state enough rope by which to fetter the church? At present, the government doesn’t control the church & the church doesn’t control the government, and that is as it should be in a free country.

      In the end, what I predict will happen is this:

      Amendment One will pass due to the narrow-minded inability of most people to see the big picture, which is the picture of civil rights.

      People who are oppressed by this Jim Crow amendment will challenge it in court.

      The State of North Carolina will spend hundreds of thousand – possibly millions – of dollars it DOESN’T have to defend this civil rights violation. (In case you haven’t noticed, we’re already operating on a shoe string budget.)

      The matter will go before the US Supreme Court.

      The US Supreme Court will rule that the amendment is a direct violation of the civil rights of the LBGT community and will order that it be overturned.

      NC will be right back where it started… only with a lot less money, which will probably come out of the education budget which is what BOTH parties choose to cut when they have to make cuts.

      But gay marriage will STILL be illegal in this state.

  2. Hi, I enjoyed your article. It is very well written and you have a correct view of what our society is and how as in Jesus’ day. I am

    1. Thank you. I just can’t bring myself to think it’s very Christian to deprive others of their civil rights just because they choose to live in a way that is sinful or just distasteful to the church. And I also don’t believe that one group of sinners has any right to deprive another group of sinners of any rights just because the first group disapproves of the second.

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