I've heard a few black folks say they will not vote for President Barack Obama in this fall's election because of his recently announced stance in support of gay marriage.
They've said their religious beliefs will not allow them to vote for anyone who condones homosexuality. Homosexuality is a sin, they say with force.
What I gather from that statement is that they cannot, because of their Christian conscience, vote for anyone who endorses anything that they consider sinful. That's fine. If they truly believe voting for Obama because of his support of same sex marriage will send them to hell, then they should not vote for him.
However, Christianity also condemns those who don't feed the poor, provide shelter for the homeless or visit the imprisoned. It also frowns upon those who have fornicated or committed adultery. And it is not very accepting of those who don't care for the elderly or children, or who have gossiped or have treated their neighbors in less than loving ways.
And I haven't even mentioned how much liars are held in disdain.
God doesn't consider any of us without sin. That means we voters, those of us who are overweight (gluttony) or who gossip, are just as bad as Obama has been painted.
If you don't vote for Obama because of his equal marriage stance then you can't vote for Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, either. Romney believes this country is spending too much money helping the poor and the elderly. He says he will cut those items in the budget. Is it OK to vote for a man who doesn't believe in helping the least of us?
Why is gay marriage a far worse sin?
It is true, the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination (See Leviticus 18:22 and some say 2nd Timothy 3:1-5). But it also calls pride, baring false witness, killing and an eagerness to do evil abominations as well.
However, all those sins are forgivable according to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The only one not forgivable is blasphemy.
I'm not understanding how gays and lesbians became the boogeymen of Christianity. Their sexual preference and behavior has gained a special status: the worst sin of all.
Yes, gay and lesbian sexual behavior was listed as a capital offense in the Old Testament, right along with blasphemy and many other sins. In the New Testament gays and lesbians ranked right up there with adulterers, drunks, thieves, swindlers and liars. All of them are allowed to marry.
Plus, I know I voted for a few adulterers, liars and drunks. Haven't you?
Why are we making gays and lesbians special?
Now that the NAACP, a civil rights organization, has come out in favor of "marriage equality," meaning same sex marriage, a big national spotlight has been turned on black folk. Will black people, despite condemnations preached from pulpits or disparagements whispered across backyard fences, come to accept that civil rights should be shared by all?
A few years ago, an old friend of mine went out of his way to denounce my saying the treatment of gays was a civil rights issue. A minister I respect will probably bash me for this column.
But I don't see same sex marriage as a religious issue. If ministers don't want to marry gays, then they shouldn't. Gays should, however, be allowed to go elsewhere and say I do.
My husband and I were married by a Justice of the Peace in our apartment. That doesn't make our marriage any less binding even though no minister or priest was around. It didn't have a thing to do with religion. Our marriage, nonetheless, is legal in the eyes of the law.
And that's what gays want. Legality. Equal treatment under the law.
If you want to tell all the gays and lesbians singing in our choirs and preaching on the down-low in our pulpits that they can't marry in your sanctuary, that's your business. But until you point fingers at the practicing fornicators and adulterers putting money in the offering plate, God will not be pleased.
So cast your ballot for any politician you choose. They have all sinned and fallen short. But don't use God as your excuse to choose one above another.
Short of blasphemy, God doesn't calibrate sins, even if we do.