There are to be no second-class citizens in the United States! We established a long time ago that “separate is not equal,” and all American citizens are entitled to enjoy equality under the law. Any society that presumes to refer to itself as “decent” and “civilized” must not in any way discriminate against any group of people through its laws or their enforcement. We should have learned this painful lesson during the struggle for African American civil rights, and we must now apply that lesson in this struggle for full and equal civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (hitherto referred to as LGBT) people. LGBT people are entitled to the same rights and privileges that accrue to all other citizens of the United States Gay people are certainly entitled to full and equal civil rights, including the right to marry! The lies and other nonsense purveyed by many self-proclaimed arbiters of “morality,” often cloaked in the guise of religion, that same-sex marriage destroys “the sanctity of marriage” is ludicrous on its face! I have been married to my wife for 47 years, and I can’t see how same-sex marriage will in any way negatively impact my marriage or in any way destroy the sanctity of my marriage! No rational person can believe that same-sex marriage in any way compromises the institution of marriage, an institution that has taken many forms in our history. As a Christian, I am profoundly embarrassed and outraged by those professing Christians who are in the vanguard of discrimination against LGBT people; who spew hateful rhetoric, borne out of their ignorance and/or their hatred and/or their avariciousness, that is diametrically opposed to anything Jesus said, lived, or taught to all who would claim to be His disciples! Indeed, Jesus saved His harshest words for those who claimed to be “godly” and yet sought to put yokes of bondage onto others! Christians love other people, and the only Gospel to be found in Christianity is comprised of: grace (God’s unmerited favor to us), faith (trusting God over and above seen circumstances), love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. There is no other Gospel! Jesus makes it abundantly clear that we are to love and not judge or condemn others! Any professing Christian who thinks that he/she is representing Jesus by doing the very opposite of what Jesus told us to do is not only seriously misled, but is woefully misleading the public, many of whom are gullible enough to take the purveyors of the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism seriously. Moreover, we are under the Constitution of the United States and we are not a Theocracy! Since when are we to take a group of people’s understanding of the Bible, an “understanding” far more informed by their preconceived prejudices than it is by anything else, and enshrine those prejudices into our laws of the land; impose those prejudices onto a minority group that all too many professing Christians and others view as being relatively “safe” to persecute? The discrimination against LGBT people in the names of “Christianity,” “morality,” “tradition,” “the well being of our children,” and any other specious reasons given for this oppression has many of us saying: “Enough is enough!” We’re not going to take it anymore! For those of us who are Christians, we are sick and tired of having those who would hate and/or discriminate against others presume to speak for us! For those of us who are heterosexual, we are sick and tired of watching our LGBT sisters and brothers be oppressed! For those of us who are LGBT, we are sick and tired of being viewed and treated as second-class citizens, denied marital and other rights and benefits that heterosexual tax paying citizens are given and take for granted. In sum, LGBT rights activists demand full and equal civil rights that every other citizen of the United States possesses, and we won’t rest or stop until that goal is achieved!
Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. He also published a blog called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights” and the website Radical Christianity.