A friend of mine serving in Afghanistan took a moment out of his busy schedule of killing Muslim infidels and burning the Qur’an (I joke — he’s actually part of the mission to rebuild Afghani infrastructure) to send me a thoughtful Ash Wednesday gift on Facebook.
I find this not only humorous, but an important way for religion (and the religious) to behave. I don’t see this as offensive – what I see as offensive are images like this:
Yep, the Fred Phelp’s God hates everyone signs. While many Christians do their absolute best to distance themselves from Phelp’s views, the sad fact of the matter is that a slim majority of Christians, whether they vocalize it or not, believe that their god cannot condone marriage equality – because, in their biblical view, homosexuality is a mortal sin against their god.
The General Assembly in my state of Maryland just passed marriage equality legislation which our governor is expected to sign in days. Unfortunately, the legislation will not go into effect until November, giving opponents of marriage equality (i.e., the god-fearing), the opportunity to gather signatures (roughly 55,000 are needed) to place the issue on the ballot in November – leaving individual prejudices to determine if a minority group can enjoy the same rights as the rest of the population of the state.
Personally, I have issues with the idea that the rights of a minority (or out-) group can be determined by the majority. Either our rights as citizens of this country are guaranteed by the Constitution or they are not. Leaving it to the prejudices of the majority, which will undoubtedly be fueled by Christian-interest group funding and negative advertising, doesn’t bode well for Maryland joining the current 7 states and the District of Columbia that recognize marriage equality for all.
So, going back from whence we came – this theology, this religion, this god – drives this view. Just the latest example over the last few centuries of atrocities humans commit in his name. Yet, to criticize such a deity, to find fault in his perfection, risks offending some of his followers.