God’s Umbrella

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In our home, we teach our children that there’s covering and blessing under God’s umbrella. It serves as a great metaphore. Think about it…

An umbrella does not act like a locked corralle where one is imprisoned in a covered bullpen. Rather, an umbrella is light and can travel with you wherever you go or you can choose to leave it at home. And you can hold an umbrella for cover from harsh wind, sun or rain. Or you can choose to lay it down and walk alone freely in the elements. 

God has no desire to enslave you. He loves you enough to let you decide whether you want to live under the covering of His umbrella or dance outside of His umbrella. One note of caution: Dancing outside of the umbrella might appear fun at times, but the elements can quickly turn harsh out there.  And it can be quite difficult to manage the consequences alone.  

Here is the good news. You may choose to live beyond the reach of God’s protective umbrella, but you can never live beyond the reach of God’s love for you. 

God is always eagerly waiting with open arms for you to return and pick up the umbrella He has unconditionally reserved for you. No questions asked. Just a loving Father delighted to see His child find security under His covering. 

Freedom of Religion

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At the risk of intimidation, fear of hateful posts and threats of violence…. I’m going to go ahead and say it. I have a concern regarding same-sex marriage being promoted as a constitutional right.  My concern has nothing to do with my personal beliefs about same-sex marriage. I simply feel strongly that every American needs to understand the legal argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Our founding forefathers courageously fought for our freedom of religion. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law, that among other things, impedes the free exercise of religion. 

Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, many Americans think, “Live and let live.”  But from a legal standpoint, the U.S. Supreme Court is not being asked to create a world where we live and let live without interference with each other. It’s actually quite the opposite. 

The Supreme Court is being asked to create a civil right for all Americans (me, you, and your neighbors too) to enter into a same-sex marriage if we choose to do so and to recognize that such a choice will forever be protected by the U.S. Constitution; and such a constitutional right shall not be violated. 

But you can’t stop there. You must think through the implications of such a constitutional right. All civil rights must be upheld and protected at ALL costs. In fact, to speak against such a right, is legally deemed hate speech. 

Wikipedia: “In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite… prejudicial action against or by a PROTECTED individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a PROTECTED individual or group.”

Think about what makes up hate speech today. One example is the horrific hateful propaganda of a white supremisct or a distasteful joke about the disabled; disgusting and hateful thoughts and activities directed towards individuals or groups PROTECTED by the constitution. 

So here is the crux of my concern. If same-sex marriage is deemed a constitutional right, then ANY religion or written religious authority (like a bible), that promotes marriage between a man and a woman or that identifies same-sex marriage as a sin condemned by their God, will be deemed to promote hate speech. Religions, books and persons whose God deems marriage to be between a man and woman will be in the same bucket as a vocal white supremisct.

In fact, if you promote such ideals in your home with your children, you will be encouraging hateful sentiments contrary to a civil right. Telling your child that marriage should be between a man and a woman will be no different than teaching them to draw a swaticka and hate Jewish people. 

Or what about children adopted by same-sex married couples who experience confusion in their circumstances and want to express this as they age?  Such expressions will be discouraged and identified as hateful, therefore they will suppress their own personal experience out of fear for how they will be viewed. 

When a pastor, priest, elder, or bishop of any religion does not want to marry a same-sex couple because it violates his or her religious practice….  Or a religious baker doesn’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex couple…. He or she can be sued, penalized, and possibly even criminalized if they choose to honor their religious principles. 

And what will our public education system promote? Chapter 1: promotion of integration of African Americans and the courage of all those that contributed to steps of creating equality amongst the races (And let me reiterate, I greatly honor and respect those before me that made such strides).  Chapter 2: the creation of a civil right for same-sex couples and praise for those that forced churches and certain religious individuals to abandon their hateful beliefs about traditional marriage to embrace same-sex marriage. THINK about what this message teaches your children about you, your religion, and your God, if in deed your religion promotes a traditional marriage between a man and a woman. 

Let’s be very clear here. Creating a civil right to same-sex marriage directly rubs up against the free practice of some religions. 

Perhaps you believe anyone who is against same-sex marriage is hateful (not true, but that’s another writing for another day), but for others, it’s been engrained in their religion for 1000’s of years or perhaps since creation. You might say, “Well, then it’s time to make a change to some religions.” But what about the tantamount protection of the free practice of religion? What about creating a country that allows us to love one another and live next to one another without forcing our beliefs on one another? And can’t we like each other even if we don’t approve of some of the things other people do?

Don’t get me wrong, no one should incite violence or openly threaten anyone for living a lifestyle contrary to their religion (never, ever, should this happen). But one should not be forced to abandon a fundamental principle of their religion because of someone else’s marital desires. Let’s not “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Every American (me, you, and your neighbors too) should be able to freely practice their religion without intimidation or fear or interference or penalty. 

At the end of the day, whether one supports same-sex marriage or whether one believes same-sex marriage is a sin under their religion, everyone needs to understand, the same-sex marriage request before the Supreme Court is NOT a “live and let live” request. This is about promoting same-sex marriage at the expense of suppressing the freedom of some people freely practicing their religion. 

If opening the door to same-sex marriage requires closing the door on freedom of religion regarding the sanctity of marriage, then the request as presented should be denied.