Limiting Rights of One Group Is a Slippery Slope
By Brian Deaton
Special to The Pilot
The approval of Amendment One is a very unfortunate result. But my purpose here is to reflect on the implications of some of the commentary and actions that have occurred in support of this amendment.
First is the acknowledged stealing of signs that opposed the proposal.
Columnist Geoff Cutler trivializes a significant issue by characterizing the act as something akin to a teenage prank and ranking on the harmful index next to texting while driving. Those signs had a financial value. Thus, the act was stealing, not simply vandalism.
I would further note that the action amounts to an absolute infringement on one of the fundamental constitutional freedoms (speech) that Cutler is so fond of extolling.
The justification provided by the woman who has been charged, and apparently admits to taking the anti-Amendment One signs, shows a misunderstanding of the word of God. The true words of God are few - found in the Ten Commandments and in the actions of Jesus Christ and probably others sent to Earth to educate those of us prone to sin through their own behavior.
One of those commandments is "Thou shalt not steal." No amount of quotations from the Bible - a document developed by humans - can trump the fundamental principle of this commandment.
Another troubling aspect of the debate over Amendment One is the selective interpretation of religious doctrine by church leaders and their followers to support political positions. My faith is driven by the following statement of the priest who brought me back to the church: "The word of God is infallible; the words, and actions, of humans, are always subject to fallibility."
Two gifts distinguish humans from other species and allow us to progress culturally: scientific knowledge and the power to reason, not simply respond to external stimuli.
Scientific research has demonstrated that sexual orientation is a genetic determination. Given that, how can we deny the right to love - and have that love be publicly recognized - to one set of individuals and not to all?
It is not correct to say that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation. That denies the co-equal purpose of a unitive, mutual love between two individuals that is the real foundation of a healthy society. And, if procreation were the sole purpose, there are a slew of us who are living in sin.
Our power of reason should tell us that it is ridiculous to suggest that it is not a sin to be a homosexual, but it is a sin to engage in homosexual acts.
For most humans, sexual activity is a natural expression of strong attraction and affection. You might as well say that it is not a sin to be a frog, but it is a sin to croak.
The constitution is a defining set of principles for who we are as a society. The opening statement of the U.S. Constitution is: "In order to form a more perfect Union." Not "the perfect Union," but a more perfect one. It recognized that a confederation of states was not a workable model for developing the country, and that there would need to be changes over time to accommodate an increasingly diverse society.
In more than 200 years, the document has been amended 27 times, generally to extend - not restrict - the rights of citizens and to instill more democratic principles into our form of government. The notable exception was the 18th Amendment, which was subsequently invalidated by the 21st Amendment.
Limiting the rights of one set of citizens based on one set of religious interpretations is a very slippery slope and not one, in my view, that is supported by the First Amendment.
Brian Deaton lives in Pinehurst.
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