Friday, July 31, 2015
Nobody's theology trumps our democracy. That is a core truth enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution and the genius of our founding fathers who understood the need to provide both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. This is an incredibly important data point to have at the ready the next time someone confuses equal protection for LGBT Americans with an attack on religion.
It. Is. Not. The First Amendment of our Constitution -- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" -- means that the freedom of members of Any Church USA to believe whatever they choose to about anything whatsoever is absolutely protected. That freedom, however, does not extend to the freedom to take away the constitutionally protected rights of other Americans because of what they believe.
Freedom of religion. Freedom from religion. Simple to explain. Hard to understand. Or at least it seems to be hard to understand to some folks who are working overtime to try to paint themselves as victims of discrimination because their theology is being disagreed with.
A recent case in point was a YouTube video making the rounds called "Not Alone." Produced by "CatholicVote" it offered the heartfelt stories of a series of folks who share their pain at being oppressed and marginalized because they believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They feel so alone -- and we should feel so sad for them.
News Flash: There is a critical difference between feeling excluded because you're disagreed with and being excluded because of who you are. Nobody likes to be disagreed with -- that is absolutely true. But -- here's the thing -- confusing your imagined right to be agreed with with the actual right of LGBT Americans be equally protected by the Constitution -- that is absolutely bogus.
And making that point inspired a video response to the "Not Alone" folks: #TruthTrending -- posted above and the brainchild of Prop8 plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo and a project I was honored to be part of.
Freedom of religion. Freedom from religion. Simple to explain. And important to remember the next time someone confuses equal protection with an attack on religion. Remember that the First Amendment goes both ways -- and-then let's get busy making liberty and justice for all really mean "all."
Because at the end of the day, that is the #TruthTrending that will set us all free!
[Also posted on the Huffington Post]