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. 

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Do You Feel Loved?

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One of the most important questions you can ask your spouse or your child is, “Do you feel loved?” 

Feelings come and go.
Love is not a feeling.
Love is a decision.
Love is not given for good behavior.
Love is not withheld as punishment.
Love is given whether or not it is deserved.

You know you truly love someone when the act of loving that person is more important to you than how that person makes you feel.

Do you want to live a real love story? Select a mate that knows how to love you beyond their self. And pick someone you are willing to love for a lifetime, no matter what. And when you have children, share that same kind of unconditional and secure love with them.

If real love sounds hard, look at Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that he willingly gave his life and died for us – even for those that did not believe in him, that betrayed him, and that spit on him. He gave his life for the undeserved because he loved them even though they gave him nothing in return. Jesus’ love is perfect love.

Some people say they would die for their spouse or for their child, but yet they live every day selfishly for themselves. How do you compare?

Christian Life Coach
http://www.NicieLee.com

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YOUR SILENCE IS LOUD AND CLEAR

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Why the silent treatment hurts.

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There are times in life when we have to exercise self-control and bind our lips so as not to say something that we can’t take back. “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” (Proverbs 29:11) This type of silence is of good character.

Then there are some people that take silence to another level…. THE SILENT TREATMENT. When we are threatened in some way, we react with fight or flight. Silence may initially be a protective mechanism of flight. But the moment the threat is no longer present and the silence evolves into punishment of another, it becomes an active form of fight.

Silence pops up in many relationships in our lives; spouses, children, co-workers, friends, family, etc. Some people try to defend their silence by saying things like, “I’m not calling you names. I’m not raising my voice. I’m not hitting you. I’m not doing anything to you.” Let’s be clear…. The silent treatment is loud and it hurts or offends. The thing you can count on about the silent treatment is that it will never bring resolution or peace to a situation; it will only make a chasm wider or lengthen the duration of the pain.

In Matthew 22:36, when Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” But he doesn’t stop there. Jesus goes on to give a second commandment, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” In order to comply with these commandments, we must first understand what it means to love.

Love is many things. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” So we know that love is about action; actions of patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and rejoicing.

Ignoring someone is the opposite of love. It screams loud and clear to the other person, “You are not worthy of my attention or my breath. I refuse to hear you when you speak. I do not even care about you enough to acknowledge your existence. I dislike you or disrespect you so much that I cannot even look at you.”

There are many reasons why we resort to silence in our relationships with others. Anyone who delivers
silence and anyone who receives silence knows that silence can be a dysfunctional disruption to a relationship and it can cause painful deep wounds.

If silence is your “go to” coping mechanism or you are the recipient of chronic silent treatments, the pain that exists in that space is real. There are ways to break such a cycle and they are worth exploring. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

STOP THE SILENCE.
IT IS LOUD AND IT HURTS.

Nicie Lee is a Christian Life Coach that can help people with matters of the heart. http://www.NicieLee.com

Season of Ho-hum?

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Are you yearning for glee? Do you long to return to a peak season in your past when you experienced feelings of contentment and joy? Most all of us feel this way at times.

When we do feel this way, we tend to look inward and evaluate what is causing the ho-hum feeling within us. But maybe our contentment and joy is really found outside of ourselves.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT

A selfish life filled with plans only to make a person happy in and of themselves may work short term, but it will fail to bring lasting joy and fulfillment. So it stands to reason that when we begin to help others, our own problems will shrink and the ho-hum blues will lift.

When our God-given time on earth comes to pass, what we have done to help others will be valued and celebrated on earth by the ones we leave behind and in heaven by the ones waiting on us.

So today, take a step to cure your ho-hums. It can be as simple as calling a family member, sending a random card to a friend, preparing a meal for a neighbor, looking at your spouse and saying “You are great and I love you” or inviting someone to coffee. Spend your time listening instead of talking. Try to think of any small thing that might brighten someone’s day. Lifting the burdens of others does not have to be a heroic feat, but even something “small” for someone else will help cure your blues.