As a country, do we want to be in the business of "proving" what someone thinks or denying them freedom of conscience? Do we want to rip the heart out of the First Amendment of our Constitution? Do we want to deconstruct our public square where progress has been advanced by a dialogue between faith and reason? Do we really want to embolden a 21st century secular fundamentalism by forcing religious expression from the public square?
The answer to these questions is a simple and emphatic no! What is driving the controversy associated with this bill ultimately comes down to one issue: Can the government punish a person for a "thought crime" whose religious faith includes the belief that homosexual behavior is immoral, and same sex marriage is morally objectionable?
While some modern liberal denominations and other faiths refuse to criticize homosexual sex and embrace same sex marriage, it is an historical fact that moral evaluations of these acts have been part of the Judeo-Christian belief system for four thousand years.
And, millions of Americans oppose these acts because they believe the historic teachings of their respective religions on this matter.
You are free to disagree, but they are free to believe.
No rational person argues against the proposition that all American citizens should be afforded full rights and protections under the law and Constitution. The present debate surrounding this bill is derived from the fight to preserve the most fundamental institution necessary for the continuation of any human civilization - the family.
Isn't it classic community doublespeak when a society that has decriminalized homosexuality is now contemplating criminalizing opposition thoughts?
The question we face is if the federal government should have the power to lock people away for beliefs flowing from their religion. Think it can't happen?
In Sweden, a pastor was imprisoned for 30 days for simply expressing his faith's view of homosexuality in a sermon. In Canada, Christian leaders received a hefty fine for expressing the same view over the radio. And right here in America, in Philadelphia eleven people were arrested and prosecuted for sharing the Christian gospel at a homosexual rally.
No violence was committed in any of these situations.
They were simply punished for expressing their faith.
President Bush has said he will veto this bill if it passes the Senate. Regardless of what you think about homosexuality, you should support stopping this bill.
We punish people for their wrong acts, not for what some consider their wrong thoughts. America has a rich heritage of religious liberty and free speech. Let's keep it this way.
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