How can the US federal government randomly pick-and-choose how to hand out citizenship rights; and how can the federal government simply ignore mandates outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution?
In this essay, I posit that religious ideology, and specifically Christianity, has severely harmed the architecture of our government. Christianity has been infused into every branch of our government despite the fact that our nation was founded on religious tolerance and acceptance of all people. The Puritans fled from the Old Country, in part, to escape religious persecution; however, when they arrived to the New World, they brought the instruments of intolerance and hatred with them. They brought the religion that had been used to persecuted them-- Christianity.
Over time, the Puritans built a colony, and later as Americans, they created a nation entrenched in Christianity. Interestingly enough, however, the founding fathers of this nation chose not to embrace or endorse a state religion and omitted it from the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. These informed and intelligent men remembered the religious evils which existed in Great Britain, and instead they sought to create a nation built upon equal, secular values and beliefs.
Nevertheless, the tentacles of Christianity created over time an unequal institutionalized tier of citizenship. Blacks were at the bottom. Kidnapped from Africa, they were enslaved, bred like animals, and bought and sold like every day commodities. Women were a notch above blacks, however, they, too, were simply considered the property of their husbands. Just as blacks suffered many painful and unjust moments in the history of our nation, so too did women.
In 1865 following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution granted blacks their freedom from slavery; and five years later, the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, prohibited states from preventing people of color from voting: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. [And] The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
During the Jim Crow era, racial discrimination persisted and the disenfranchisement of blacks continued. Despite the passage of the 15th Amendment, many states implemented unfair screening processes which denied blacks the right to vote. Nevertheless, a century later, African-Americans finally secured the right to vote with the passage of The National Voting Act of 1965.
In 1920, women were granted the right to vote with the passage of 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The participation of the US federal government was crucial to creating and ultimately perpetuating equality for African-Americans and women. If individual states had been recruited to deal with racial and gender discrimination, there would be broad and staggering inequalities for African-Americans and women to this day. Thankfully, our federal government did the right thing by taking control and correcting inequalities tolerated for far too long.
The struggle of gay Americans for equal rights is really no different than the struggles of blacks or women. Once again, he US federal government will have to step in and strip away the last remnants of apartheid in our nation. The federal government will need to return to the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for unbiased insight and remedy the injustices which have been supported, in part, by discriminatory Christian practices and beliefs. The federal government cannot stand by idly and do nothing. All Americans regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation should be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
I often wonder what some Americans will do when they wake up from their cognitively impaired, heartless slumber, and realize how they have, actively or in silence, carried out, or tolerated, the many heinous and irrevocable injustices perpetrated on gay Americans….and often times in the name of their own God. Will God-fearing Americans feel the shameful anguish of their action, or inaction, to the suffering of God’s gay children? Will their experience be similar to the Germans who have had to live with their monstrous fingerprint on the history of the Jewish people?
It really amazes me how some individuals rationalize hatred and intolerance for certain groups of people. To advance and legitimatize absurdities, many invoke the will of God to strengthen their argument, and to frighten others into accepting and adopting a code of morality which segregates, harms and disenfranchises other fellow Americans. Why do we do this? Why do we refuse to learn from our mistakes? Clearly, the mantra of our history teachers has fallen on deaf ears.
Here’s some food for thought. Voltaire, a French philosopher, stated, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."