Thursday, August 2, 2012

Supporting Freedom of Religion AND Freedom of Marriage

I apologize to anyone who follows my blog for gardening stories and photos, but I have something I have to get off my chest that has nothing to do with gardening...and this is one of the few outlets that I have to share it with the world.

   Today, 8/1/2012 was the unofficial "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," organized by Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.  The whole thing between Dan Cathy vs. LGBT groups (with the Chick-Fil-A company getting caught in the middle) hasn't really upset or inspired me...until the press started interviewing some of the people that showed up at Chick-Fil-A restaurants today.
   These people were saying things about "freedom of religion" but all I see them supporting is "freedom of their religion."  If these people wanted true freedom of religion, they would support the removal of all marriage restrictions and allowances from any government body.  But, of course, that would require thinking for themselves instead of only looking at the two sides of the issue presented to them.
   Marriage is a religious institution, there is no denying that. No matter where the origin of marriage lays, its religious ties are older than most modern-day religions.  But there are several religions that support marriage between homosexual couples.  Most of them are Christian religions.  As an example, if I chose to marry another man within a Metropolitan Community Church the church would recognize my marriage, my friends and family would recognize my marriage, but the State of Florida and the United States of America would not consider my marriage legal...therefore, it is considered illegal. If the government finds a heterosexual marriage from one church legal and a homosexual marriage from another church illegal, this is is not freedom of religion.  It is irrefutable religious discrimination on the part of the government because the government is dictating how each religion is allowed to interpret the definition of marriage.  To me, that is no different than dictating which book you follow (i.e. King James' Bible, Tanakh, The Quran). 
   As for Dan Cathy, I always applauded how he applies his christian beliefs and morals into the business world.  It really makes Chick-Fil-A a fast food restaurant like no other.  I've never had bad service at any of their locations, and I have always been treated with more kindness, respect, and courtesy than any other restaurant that I have been to (fast food or otherwise).  I have always respected Chick-Fil-A for closing on Sundays.  To me, that represents that they hold true to their values when everyone else has caved for the sake of making money. I also respect Dan Cathy for standing up for what he believes in. Although I do not share his same views, this is America he has the freedom of speech to voice his opinion.  
   But, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from public persecution.  As Spider-man's Uncle Ben (and I'm sure other, non-fictitious people) said, "With great power comes great responsibility." (Thanks, Mandy Connell for that one!) The power in this case is his position as President and Chief Operating Officer of a prominent American business and the power of free speech.  The responsibility, after he makes a statement like that, is dealing with the repercussions of the statement and backlash from the people that may disagree with him.  As president of a company, I do think that Dan Cathy was somewhat selfish and quite irresponsible for releasing a statement like that. Especially after reading this article about Bill Marriott, who keeps quiet on the issue of gay marriage so that he does not alienate any of his employees or customers.
  With his statement, Dan Cathy has caused so many headaches for so many employees within the Chick-Fil-A matter what their religion, sexual orientation, or views are (I mean, imagine what the Chick-Fil-A Public Relations department has to deal with now!).  On top of that he has flat-out alienated some of his employees and customers.  This article from the Huffington Post gave an awesome view of what it's like because one man expressed his views and these poor people's distant ties to him.  Some of the people in the article aren't even gay and they talk about the hate and misinformed lunatics they have to deal with everyday.  If I was Dan Cathy and read that Huffington Post article, I would be so sad (and so mad at myself) for causing so many people so much grief.
   In closing, my proposition is not a Conservative or Liberal view in the political spectrum. It is one of a Libertarian:  get government out of marriage.  If they want to track it, that is fine. But the government should have no authority over who I marry or which religion has the correct definition of marriage.