When Your Religious Liberty Touches the End of My Nose

Do you know that the Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples has been married four times and allegedly gave birth to twins fathered by another man five months after her first divorce? At best, this is irony, at worst, hypocrisy.

In my book, As My Own Soul: The Blessing of Same-Gender Marriage, I pointed out that a thrice-married Georgia congressman introduced the Defense of Marriage Act and it was signed into law by a philandering president. Irony or hypocrisy?

We live in a representative democracy, not a theocracy. This is neither the Vatican nor an Islamic nation. Nor should we be like Israel, dominated by one religious tradition.

It's bad enough that our representative democracy, controlled largely by English-only-speaking, privileged, nominally-Christian, straight white males historically and presently has institutionalized many religious regulations and traditions in our legal codes and practices, despite our alleged separation of church and state. (Thank God for the colonial Baptists, who persuaded our federal-government-in-formation to include that principle. Many current Baptists apparently disavow that sentiment.)

What's next? Civil servants refusing to issue marriage licenses to atheists? To interfaith couples? To interracial couples--oh wait, they tried to do that already, also on religious grounds!

If there is one religious principle I would legislate, if there was one commandment I would like to see engraved over the entrance of every public building, it would be:

DO UNTO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.

That might stay the hands of those who work on Wall Street and in corporate offices, as well as legislators and judges and presidents and other public servants.

That might also prompt restraint among religious leaders and communities, as well as their zealots and extremists.

It might change attitudes toward immigrants seeking a better life, toward the rights of women--including their reproductive choices, toward better integration of those with disabilities, toward all minorities' hopes of representation (including D.C. residents!), toward the poor and disadvantaged, toward those who are incarcerated.

It might even change our approach to international relations.

This should become our new "gold standard."

Rev.Chris Glaser has published a dozen books and writes a free weekly blog,Progressive Christian Reflections.

Related post: Religious Liberty

Copyright © 2015 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved.