1st Amendment Rights & the Religious Right Versus Gay Marriage
No! It can’t be reduced to a binary opposition. Like everything it is actually much more complicated. First, anything I say / write in this the twenty-first century United States of America can and will be held against me. Somewhere, someone will take issue. I can say it, and other persons of any stripe are allowed to be upset with me, and to voice their upset and/or frustration. Neither the voicing of my opinion nor those opposing my opinion have anything to do with my First Amendment rights. Instead, that amendment prohibits Congress from making any law that prohibits religious freedom, the right to assembly, the right of a free press, and of free speech. No such law abridging my rights has been passed, and I can say anything I want without government interference. Additionally Truett Cathy can say anything he wants and Congress may not pass a law against either of us voicing our opinion. Thus, anyone stating concern that Cathy’s First Amendment rights have been violated by LGBT people’s concern, frustration, even anger over his opposition to same sex marriage is issuing a great deal of hot air, perhaps worse from their posterior (Oh, I am so euphemistic.)!
So, why are LGBT people and many others angry about Truett Cathy's remarks?
The fact that I, and most LGBT people, and many progressive persons of a more liberal Christian persuasion are frustrated and even angered by the silly misconception of how to apply The First Amendment by those of a more fundamental social persuasion is totally understandable. However, there is another piece of the HOO-HAA over Chic-fil-A that my social conservative friends and family and most of us were not aware of before the crazed response to Cathy’s remarks. The fact that lesbian women and gay men may not be married by most Christian Churches, Federal law, and 33 state constitutional amendments puts us in a class by ourselves. We are reduced by churches and the law to second-class American citizenship because we do not have the lawful protections that come with marriage. Additionally, Cathy’s company has spent 5 million dollars in opposition to equal rights for LGBT marriage. I won’t mention the rumor that some of that money went to the legalization of mass murder of LGBT people in poor African countries. O-o-o-op-s! I just did. And, dollars spent in our country and foreign counties do equal free speech, at least for us, though perhaps not for the citizens of some foreign countries. For these reasons many of us are angry. Never the less, not a single person has asked to have a law passed to prevent Cathy from stating his opinion! Actually his company is laughing as they cart all their huge cash profits made from social conservatives during this fracas to the bank. Thus, this is not about free speech. Rather, it is about prejudice, and there are still a huge number of socially conservative Americans that fit the pejorative!
A Fervent Wish for Better Behavior
Most of us on both sides of this complex issue are angry and upset with one another. It is an unfortunate fact of our current state of affairs that there is almost no civility in civil discourse. In fact, I am guilty of posting angry statements in this journal entry. At the same time, all the nasty diatribes and judgmental statements I see written by both sides of the inaccurate Chic-fil-A opposition on facebook and many blogs are horrific, and I wish for a calmer, more careful argumentative process.
Is that pie in the sky?