I really didn’t want to write on this subject, though have prayerfully considered it for quite a while. Amendment One to the NC Constitution, scheduled to be voted on through May 8. The arena has been loud, and those I love and respect are supporting each side of the issue. But while I have listened to many of the views of both sides, I think I may look at it a bit differently. So I will share my thoughts. I don’t do this to say that anyone is wrong in how they are voting or that I am right. But this is where I am today. And until the time I place my vote, I will listen and think and pray and remain open to changing and being changed.
(And by the way, I am writing this in spite of my obnoxious friend Al, who said I was “wishy washy” when it comes to politics. I do feel “wishy washy” currently, not because I am a person of few opinions, but because I am a person who has little passion for this election. And while that frustrates me, I also cannot create thoughtful opinions or passion when I have none. And while I love my opinionated friends, I absolutely hate when they demand certain behaviors of me in their time and not respect that I must do things in my own. Because they should know that I try not to be a coward nor someone who lives in a closet, but someone who tries to live her life consistently and truthfully and thoughtfully, in front of the world. And as I feel led by God, not forced by people. And yes Al, you are probably one of the few people I would ever call out publicly in quite this way…so you are still special!)
I really like that we live in a democracy. I love the idea of one citizen, one vote. And I believe we should be seen as equal under the law. As individuals. Our State of NC Constitution seems to support this. It says “We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.”
As part of this line of thinking of equal persons, in a democracy I don’t understand why marriage should matter to our government at all. I think we should all should count as equal citizens. Not as couples. Not as families. But individuals. No more rights to the married, no more responsibility. No fewer rights for the married, no less responsibility.
The amendment itself confuses me. Here is the actual text from the ballot “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
I still haven’t received a definition for what a “domestic legal union” is. It’s my understanding that it isn’t currently defined under the law. I know what a “domestic partner” is, I know what a “civil union” is…..just don’t know what they are talking about when they say “domestic legal union.” To know what each word means is important when we are voting for something. Assuming you know what they mean in a legal sense is dangerous. Not having it fully defined means that it is open to being questioned. In court. Many, many times. And while I have more lawyer friends than the average person, I would prefer they not have the extra work. At least not work of this kind. Surely there is a better use of their time….and brilliant minds (well, some of them have brilliant minds)…and our tax dollars.
I am a huge believer in marriage before God. I would love to be married one day. So far the man that I could be married to has been quite elusive and so I am not sure that it will ever happen (and I am quite OK with that. Most days.) But as a Christian if I marry that relationship will be between me and that person and God. I don’t feel that there need to be any other parties involved. Especially our government. I would prefer there not be a legal requirement for marriage. Or domestic unions. Or anything that changes the privileges and rights of people because of who they choose to live in union with. I’d prefer we all remain as individuals under the law. But I do love the concept and the reality of biblical marriage and think perhaps it may mean more if it was faith based and not government based.
I think Amendment One was proposed to be inflammatory. To make a statement. Not to make things better for citizens or change something that needed to be changed. Why do we need this amendment? How many of our tax dollars have gone into this? And for what real purpose? I just don’t understand the need. Or the expenditure of our money.
Will Amendment One change society? Will it lead more people to follow my Lord? Will it lead to people being more open to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Will it lead to stronger marriages, less divorce, more great role models for our children? Will it draw our state closer to God? Will it lead people to sin less? Repent more? Treat each other better? I don’t think so.
I hadn’t read our NC Constitution in a while, but felt like it was necessary since I was going to vote on amending it. I think it says some pretty great stuff. It begins….
“NORTH CAROLINA STATE CONSTITUTION
We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, and that the relations of this State to the Union and government of the United States and those of the people of this State to the rest of the American people may be defined and affirmed, we do declare that:
Section 1. The equality and rights of persons.
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.”
God chose to give us a choice to follow him. I think the words of our Constitution are words that God approves of. I agree that our world is so very full of sin and many have chosen to go their own way (I look in the mirror.) There are certainly consequences for that …..consequences that will impact us all. My personal plan is to pray for both myself and my friends. To love them, and challenge them, and encourage them to listen to the voice of His Spirit. To see Him work in their lives. I hope they do the same for me. One thing I have found….. the issues I may condemn in other people may not be what God wants to work on in their lives right now. Let that be between them and in tune with God’s perfect sense of timing and priority.
I have not done an extensive personal study on what God says about homosexuality. Quite honestly, I am lazy and since I happen to be heterosexual, other issues seem more important for me to study. Like controlling my tongue. Like gluttony. Like being humble in spirit. I admit avoiding the issue is somewhat purposeful, too. Yeah, possibly a cop-out. A long time ago I told God that I just don’t have the clarity that others seem to have with regard to the issue. I asked him to change my heart or illuminate my mind if necessary. I love my friends who happen to be gay and if asked my opinion of their lifestyle, would encourage them to study scripture to see what God reveals to them. When they approach with open hearts, I trust the Holy Spirit to show them truth. The minute the Spirit changes my heart on that plan of action, I will change my behavior. But until I have that clarity, that’s all I’ve got. My gay friends are treated just like all of my other very sinful friends. I am not known as a “yes man” with my friends. I try to be truthful and honest and not tell people just what they want to hear. And I want my friends to be truthful with me and not hide their sins and/or perceived sins. No need to hide from another big fat sinner! But when any are struggling with any issue, I hope I will always encourage them to seek truth. And if I can help them find it, I will. If I am involved in your life and you are a Christian, I do have the responsibility to gently tap you on the shoulder when I notice things that may be unbecoming to the person you should be. My non-Christian friends will probably point out that I do that to them, too. Hopefully it always comes from love. And truth. And is Holy Spirit directed, not via the mob. The reality is that sometimes it is just more about me than about you. I trust you will see beyond me and look to God to reveal to you His thoughts.
Personally I would rather all of us more distracted by the Spirit than by poorly written amendments to our constitution that are intended to point out sin and yet drive people from God instead of pointing people to Him. Our country needs to change. That’s evident to me. But the biggest way I can make change in our country is to change myself. There’s a lot in me that needs to change. And I will be changed. How about you? It will be a struggle for me, for I am not only a sinner, but a self-centered one.
I see hearts on both sides of the issues with regard to this amendment and I think they are well intentioned. My prayer for us all is that we listen to God, and that we vote our conscience. And regardless of the outcome of that vote that we, the people of North Carolina, be grateful to our Almighty God for our civil, political and religious liberties….and fight to retain them. The good news is that God is bigger than government. And smarter than we are.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”> with your God.” Micah 6:8