LGBTQ Rights vs. Religious Freedom

We live in a pluralistic society. We are not a religious theocracy, but at the same time we do not reject religious beliefs. It is fundamentally our responsibility as a nation and as a government to not interfere in the private lives of citizens or the fundamental core beliefs of various groups that don’t violate laws or impact matters of state. We are to treat each other with respect. Our society must do two things simultaneously relating to this existing conflict: wholeheartedly accept and support the LGBTQ community, and wholeheartedly accept and tolerate those with fundamental core religious beliefs that do not support LGBTQ communities.

What does that mean? There is a lot to unpack here. If I am of a religious background, I need to respect the pluralistic form of government we have in this nation and not attempt to push boundaries limiting society from reaching out and supporting the LGBTQ community. In other words, as an example, an individual with a religious background, who happens to fundamentally oppose the LGBTQ community, needs to accept society’s decision to institute marriage between gay couples because that is clearly the will of the nation as a whole. That is undisputed. Fighting against that is encroaching upon tolerance in our pluralistic society, so not only has this issue already been decided, as a society, we should always error on the side of acceptance for core beliefs that do not incite violence and hate or encroach upon other’s lives.

On the other side, If I am part of the LGBTQ community, I should respect the diversity of a group who fundamentally disagrees with the origin of the LGBTQ community because, for example, they choose a particular interpretation of ancient text which they feel does not support it. Therefore, those who fundamentally differ in those beliefs who are in a religious organization that perform marriages should not be required to perform any marriage they deem to be in opposition to their core beliefs. Society should not try to force a different ancient interpretation upon those individuals or groups. Is that the responsibility of government to enforce that? I don’t think so. That is overreaching in my opinion.

The limitations of government, as I see it, should be to stay in the realm of promoting a society that doesn’t allow the instigation of hate or violence in anyway by anyone, nor allow a group to use the law as a battering ram against organizations or individuals for core beliefs that are differing from another group.

In addition, in open, public forum, discussions of differing beliefs should always be welcomed where appropriate so long as people’s privacy and personal space are not violated, and as long as hate and violence are not incited or encouraged. The first amendment should always be protected in my opinion.

In the very first paragraph in this section, there is a huge caveat in a term I used: “or violate laws”. Right now, there are groups passionate about their agendas that work to get laws enacted that favor their group. This is good, provided favoring their group doesn’t directly create a detriment for another opposing group. This is not an either-or scenario between LGBTQ and religious freedom at all. Laws can exist which promote both causes but do not limit the other. It is my belief that each of these groups can co-exist in harmony if they do not seek to encroach upon the other’s legal or ethical space or try to “strong arm” society and force legal ways to manipulate each other’s views.

At the very same time we should all oppose hate and violence. Essentially, everyone should stay in their own lane, period. That means, more power to the LGBTQ communities to have laws enacted that strengthen their communities. More power to religious groups that seek to have laws enacted which strengthen their freedoms and rights to worship and gather in the way they desire. But neither group should attempt to encroach upon the other in the form of laws that force limitations to the other.

For example, religious groups should not seek any longer to ban gay marriage. The LGBTQ community should not seek to force religious organizations to include them or perform gay marriage if the organization has core beliefs opposing it. Let each group find a peaceful equilibrium and respect boundaries and we should all stop judging each other.

So, someone from either side might argue, “your answer is too simplistic. what about children? What about custody of children?” That seems to have been a nerve point to both groups over the years. To me, the answer is still relatively simple: if you have religious beliefs that are not supportive of the LGBTQ community, then teach your children what you want (hopefully it is love, respect, tolerance and to not judge), and make sure your children remain under your custody and care. Society has the most basic of laws, and if you love your children, you should have no fear whatsoever of them being taken away. And if your belief is strong enough that you feel you need more separation, then homeschool or send them to private school, but don’t try to force a public school district to enact intolerance on the well-established LGBTQ community. That is wrong in a pluralistic society.

On the flip side, if you are an LGBTQ community member and want children, seek them legally and lawfully. If you are fortunate to receive children, teach them your beliefs. The laws are now, for the most part, in your favor. But if the laws in your area are not supportive of that, seek to get the laws changed. And people of religious beliefs who oppose such a move should refrain from trying to stop it so long as there aren’t other issues that directly encroach upon religious freedom. If there are tweaks needed, let’s find ways to address them without war between groups.

            To everyone who believes in a God or higher power, that God and higher power, if you believe in such a God, is bigger than us or our beliefs or our children or our neighbor’s children and their beliefs. Let us stop trying to change what we don’t like about our neighbors and focus on changing what we don’t like about ourselves.

When it comes to government involvement and public schools etc., it is my personal belief that the government should promote the position of maximum tolerance and acceptance. Therefore, in public schools, paid for by taxpayer dollars, LGBTQ tolerance should absolutely be supported and taught, and so should religious tolerance and acceptance for those who differ in beliefs. When people live in peace, the waters of society flow like rivers and everyone can potentially be happy and at rest. When people live in constant war and turmoil, the waters of society stagnate and become dirty. Let’s ALL seek rivers of water that flow harmoniously between groups of differing core beliefs, and let’s respect one another in all things.

And, in a final option, if you happen to be one who is part of the LGBTQ community and has religious faith like many have, that is completely fine. Preach, teach and operate within the freedom of speech and expression as you see fit, and gather with those who believe the same as you, for it is not a matter of state, and government should stay clear of this. What we personally believe and who we gather with is up to us. It is not the governments business and shouldn’t ever be. Let’s stop judging and attempting to limit each other and also, let us stop using the government as a weaponizing tool of control to force social limitations on others who otherwise are not breaking any laws.

            It is absolutely NOT the government’s responsibility to attempt to mitigate or force religious or LGBTQ compliance in beliefs and unification. If I ever declare candidacy and speak to groups, I will attempt to abide by this emphatically. I believe for individuals to step in and attempt to force this issue is not the pathway to peace and unification. We, who could have public influence on our society, should seek to lead this nation back toward its pluralistic roots of acceptance and tolerance for all who otherwise do not break the laws, but differ in core fundamental beliefs.

Summary

It is  completely wrong to use government as a tool for division that propagates one group’s agenda above another. Haven’t we already seen enough of that ad nauseum in the last two years? It benefits no one in the end if our democracy is destroyed through strife and division because a wrecking ball like Trump is able to zero in on a nerve point and play the music of division like a pied piper to the various corners of society he desires to control.

There is a pathway to peace and societal harmony between religious groups and the LGBTQ community that allow peaceful coexistence without forced confrontation if everyone simply steps back, stays in their own lane, respects one another, and doesn’t encroach upon others of differing beliefs. If everyone does this, we will no longer have one group perpetrating and the other group being victims of one another. The last few decades, that has been the pendulum of polarization swinging back and forth with neither side in the right. And especially now, we should be able to call, at minimum, a temporary truce between what used to be “fighting groups” in order to move our nation in a carefully stepped direction away from the present Administration. This should be the highest priority in all groups seeking to prevent an autocratic takeover of our nation by the wannabe. There is room for all of us to grow and learn.

I believe there are many polarizing topics we could be discussing. This is simply one I brought into this pre-release because it has become front and center in recent weeks (as of April 25, 2019). There are good, solid, wise answers that can bring peace in the most adverse of situations when people are willing. But if not, we unfortunately have a wrecking ball lying in wait, ready and willing to pounce and annihilate our democracy for good if at all possible! Let’s choose not to let that happen. There is too much at stake here to be fighting over issues that are not that difficult to resolve when everyone brings a sacrifice to the table.


The above section is written in the form of an assumption that on some future date, I will have declared a candidacy for President and will have won the 2020 election. I have not declared any candidacy for President yet.