I am Switzerland

Dear family, friends, and strangers on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate,

I am formally declaring my position of neutrality on this matter.

Yes, I am Catholic. Yes, I believe and hold firm to all of the teachings of the Church. And yes, I believe in sacramental marriage which is between a man a woman and God.

However, we do not live in a society that accepts nor understands God’s laws. Our job as Christians is to educate people of God’s laws, and we are to do so with un-judgemental love, charity, and by example. We cannot force someone to believe what we believe, but we are to educate them about the whats and whys of them.

Our government is not a theocracy and it does not cater to any one religious or nonreligious viewpoint. And at the same time it should not force people of any religious affiliation to go against its moral views. For example – the government should not require people to pay for another’s abortion, abortifacient, or contraception if they find such things morally offensive.

From my viewpoint there are two types of marriage: a civil marriage and a sacramental marriage. A civil marriage is a contract recognized and issued by the government that grants a couple certain legal rights and it can be broken via divorce. A sacramental marriage is also recognized by the state with the same legal rights, but it is also a covenant between a man a woman and God that can never be broken.

Am I okay with the state issuing civil marriages? Yes. Am I okay if the state decides that same-sex couples should be granted a civil marriage? Yes. Should the state force religious institutions to perform or recognize civil marriages? No.

What frustrates me the most about this topic is the lack of love and respect from both camps.

Many of the people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman say hateful things about people who are attracted to members of the same gender. I’ve seen and heard many hateful, unloving things from this group. It makes me feel as if they have forgotten that we are called to “love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:31  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with nor accept everything that others think or do, but you must love them. And last time I checked loving someone does not include name calling or violence.

Now those who are in support of same-sex marriages are equally guilty of saying and doing unloving things towards those who disagree with them. I often hear from this group that they want tolerance and acceptance, but the actions from some in this group say differently. Several months ago, the owner of Chick-fil-A stated that he was against same-sex marriages, and instead of accepting that this is one man stating his own personal opinion (which he is entitled to even if you disagree with him) many of this group went off and boycotted, staged sit ins at the restaurants and said vile things about this one man.  If you want others to tolerate and accept your choices in life than you too must accept and tolerate those who disagree with you.

I’ve known people who have ended long-standing friendships over this and witnessed strained family relations as well. This is sad.

There are so many terrible things wrong in this world and the simplest way we can make life in this imperfect world a bit more bearable is to show each other love. We all have our crosses to bear, and they are equally difficult to each of us.

I’m not saying that we should always get along, and I’m not saying that we have to like everything that our fellow-man says or does. What I am saying is that we are all equals and we should treat each other with the love and respect that we want shown to us.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you”  –Matthew 7:12

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