On Final Thoughts on North Carolina’s Amendment One

Some final thoughts on North Carolina and Amendment One.  (Previous comments here and here.)

I know that many of the people who voted in favor of Amendment One did so on religious grounds.  They feel that homosexuality is incompatible with their religious beliefs because it is condemned in the text of the Bible.

But I would ask them.

Why?

Of everything that the Bible says, of everything that Christianity teaches, why that?

What part of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31) did you not understand?

What part of “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13) was unclear?

What part of “God is love” (1 John 4:8) did you miss?

The greatest theological virtue in Christianity is love.  But there is no love in Amendment One.  It’s not loving to empower the state to treat some of citizens as something different and something less.  It’s not loving to tell your neighbors that the love their have for their partners counts for less than the love you have for your husband or wife.

I cannot conceive of how someone’s definition of love can be so twisted that it could justify a vote for Amendment One in their hearts.  Love is so important and so special.  Love is sharing yourself.  Love is being part of the community.  Love is knowing that everyone is special and treating them as special.  Love is supporting those who falter and celebrating those who succeed.  Love is valuing someone else more than yourself.  Love is what makes us human.

There is no humanity in Amendment One.

I’m not blind to the irony of an atheist citing the greatest of the Christian virtues in relation to Amendment One.  Yet, as a moral code, I cannot conceive of one better than “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I may not be a Christian, but Christian ethics still have some resonance with me.

I’m reminded of something Ganhdi said, “I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  Or, more recently, John Scalzi’s “Leviticans” essay, which makes the same point but at much greater length.

What troubles me is that those who voted for Amendment One and told themselves that they were doing so for Christian reasons cannot see how un-Christian their actions are.  I know they believe that, when they are judged at the Pearly Gates for the actions of their lives, that the vote for Amendment One will stand as point in their favor.

But I think, and I’ve discussed this before, that we only get one shot at life, that we need to lead life as if there’s no tomorrow, that we need to be kind to each other, that we need to love one another, and that we need to leave this world in a better place than we found it.  No deity will judge me at the End of Days, but history will.

History will judge those who stood against Amendment One well.  History will call them loving and kind.

But history won’t judge those who voted for Amendment One with any kindness.

Today fills me with sadness.

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