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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Respect for Marriage should have been a right of all Americans, along with respect for the right to worship as one pleases

The growing number of non-denominational Americans now outnumber any protestant ones.

President Joe Biden is set to sign the “Respect for Marriage” bill into law Tuesday, a new law to protect the right of any American to marry a person of their own sex. In a nation based on the concept of inalienable rights, such a bill should not be needed. It’s sad that it is in today’s America.

My first cousin on my late father’s side accepted his homosexuality decades ago, a move that cost him his marriage but, thankfully, not the love and support of his children. They accept him for what he is: Their father and the man they love.

A woman I dated and loved during my single years between marriages now lives with her “wife” and says she is happier now than at any port in her life. We still love each other but do so as friends, not lovers.

Another former lover was Jewish, a religion that does not recognize an activist Jerusulam carpenter as a true son of God. She used to send out Christmas cards with the Star of David on the cover with the message “Merry Christmas…fools.”

Like a growing number of Americans, I am non-denominational. I grew in in the Presbyterian Church but left the denomination when they split from the Presbyterian Church, USA, over the group’s recognition of gay marriage.

Reports Christianity Today:

The number of Americans who don’t identify with a specific religious tradition has grown from just 5 percent during the Cold War to around 30 percent today. This is the nons—nondenominational Christians, people who shake off organizational affiliations, disassociate from tradition, and free themselves from established church brands.

The number of nondenominational churches has surged by about 9,000 congregations over the course of a decade, according to new decennial data released by the US Religion Census. Little noticed, they have been quietly remaking the religious landscape.

There are now five times more nondenominational churches than there are Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations. There are six times more nondenominational churches than there are Episcopal. And there are 3.4 million more people in nondenominational churches than there are in Southern Baptist ones.

If “nondenominational” were a denomination, it would be the largest Protestant one, claiming more than 13 percent of churchgoers in America.

I have to hold my temper whenever someone gets in my face and calls gays who marry within their sex “sinners” who are “breaking God’s law.” As happens so often with religious fundamentalists, they are, in my opinion, misusing their religion to support what I feel is their homophobia and bigotry.

I do not believe there is such a thing as “God’s law.” America was founded on a concept of separation of “church of state.” There is no “official” national religion and, as such, cannot be considered to be a law.

Belief in a supreme being should be considered what it is: A belief, not a law. Thomas Jefferson fought for the separation of church and state in the 1700s when his composition of the Declaration of Independence and his valued work on this nation’s Contradiction. Let’s remember that Virginia’s Constitution predates the American one and Jefferson had a hand in that.

I left the Presbyterian Church more than a decade ago when the church of my youth became an “evangelical.” I become more and more isolated from what I felt was a deviation from what I was taught as a child about God’s love and tolerance.

Studies by religious scholars and others have found that racism and bigotry are found more often in white “evangelical movements” than in the nation as a whole. Sadly, it’s a sad part of evangelical hypocrisy.

“America is a Christian nation,” say too many of the right-wing fanatics — mostly Republicans — who have infiltrated our Congress and government. “Like hell,” says those of us who recognize that many religions do not accept a “son of God” belief that Christianity is based upon.

My wife and I celebrate 43 years of marriage this coming week. She is a retired actress who worked in a profession with many gays and we remain many friends who are openly gay. She will call out anyone she hears calling those who chose to marry within their sex or are gay and single “deviants” and her Lebanese-Irish temper can be sharp and dangerous. It’s a temper I fear.

While she accepts the concept that “the Irish aren’t quite sure what they believe, they are willing to fight and die for it,” Amy notes that “My Lebanese side gives me something to fight and die for.”

PresidenBiden, in preparation for signing the “Right to Marry” act into law, notes:’

Things are changing so rapidly, it’s going to become a political liability in the near term for someone to say, ‘I oppose gay marriage. Mark my words. And my job — our job — is to keep this momentum rolling to the inevitable.

Too bad we needed a new law to protect what should have been a right all along. America is not a “Christian nation” and it never should become one.

To hell with those who think otherwise. They are not true Americans but are just more religious hypocrites.

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