• Amendment One: Thoughts and prediction

    May 7, 2012

    So here we go. Tomorrow is finally the vote on North Carolina’s marriage amendment to the state constitution. What do I think will happen? My guess–and I hope I’m wrong–is that the amendment will pass, and probably by a comfortable margin. I’d like to think otherwise, but every single poll I’ve seen would have to be way off. Consistently, the polls have shown the same things: 1) roughly 55% favor the amendment, 2) a majority of people don’t know what the amendment says, and 3) once they know, about 60% oppose it. Problem is, there simply isn’t enough time before tomorrow’s vote to educate people. I saw one poll that said close to 10% of people thought the bill legalized gay marriage. And most don’t realize it prohibits even civil unions, meaning gay couples would not even have say in health decisions affecting their partners. It’s just wrong. It’s awful. But it’s probably going to happen.

    Another reason I suspect the amendment will pass is that there are an awful lot of churches in North Carolina like Berean Baptist of Fayetteville that wield a strong influence over much of the state, particularly the eastern half. You might have seen Berean’s pastor, Sean Harris, on TV recently after his rant on homosexuality went viral. I’m going to quote him, but it’s much more powerful to watch him say the words, so take a moment to watch the video.

    Click here for Berean Baptist video

    Pastor Harris says,

    “So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

    “Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign [sic] her in. And you say, ‘Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'”

    Yeah.

    I checked out Berean’s website. They are not, as you might expect, some rural, backwoods, backward church. They are a rather large church in the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina. A lot of people sit under that pastor’s teaching every Sunday. Just imagine yourself as a gay kid, maybe 12 or 13, hearing a sermon like that. And part of their mission statement, posted online, reads, “Create a Community of Believers Profoundly Impacted by God’s Love.” Not sure what all the capital letters are about, but whatever. What is a gay kid supposed to make of God’s love that involves punching kids and cracking wrists and applying unwanted makeup in an effort to cover up “butch” tendencies? (NOTE: The Bible that Harris is supposedly teaching expressly tells women NOT to do this. 1 Peter 3 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self …”)

    If I’m not mistaken, Pastor Harris’ church strongly supports Amendment One, even though their website reads,

    “From the beginning, Baptists have insisted upon the separation of the church and state. Baptists believe the authority of the State should never be used to force conversion, baptism, attendance, or compliance with church ordinances …”

    So why the amendment to force compliance with a church’s particular view of marriage?

    And so, I suspect the amendment will pass, due in no small part to the influence of leaders like Mr. Harris, and the result will be the further retreat of LGBT people from anything that smacks of Christianity. How sad. Yes, it’s unfair to lump all churches into the mold of Berean Baptist. Even in North Carolina, most churches are nothing like that. Nothing at all. Certainly the one I attend isn’t. But there are a signficant number of churches here that are, and after years of hearing such rants, many in the LGBT community have come to view all Christians as a collective “Church.” To many, the Church is a force, an entity, an agent of discrimination standing in the way of reason and liberty. No, this is not reality, and it isn’t fair, but it is perception, and a powerful one at that. And this is the perception many of us who follow Jesus will be contending with for generations as we try to persuade people that Jesus is better than what they may have heard. Amendment One will simply tack on an extra generation or two of work for us.

    And for what? No one believes the amendment will survive the next 20 years, not even the Republican leaders who put forth the measure. Either the next generation will nullify it when they come of voting age, or the United States Supreme Court will decide all such amendments are unconstitutional. So this too shall pass, and probably fairly soon. And all that will remain is the animosity such measures breed.

    Posted in: More Gay Stuff

Recent Comments

  • Gina said...

    1

    Matt please don’t count Fayetteville out when it comes to voting against Amendment One! I hate what happened at Berean and it broke my heart to hear the things that pastor said. I don’t think many churches here support him or his way of thinking. Just about everyone that I have talked about the Amendment is against it. I have heard many negative stories about that church. My husband was turned away at the door when he visited as a teenager because he wasn’t dressed properly. He was wearing blue jeans. Another friend and his family were asked not return after asking a few questions about the church’s views. Our church is located right next door and yesterday some of our members passed out water to the protesters.

    I hate that the stupid stuff that comes out of people’s mouths “in the name of God” turns people away from God. I hate that Christians are looked at as closed-minded and hate-filled because of the things that others say and do. I hate that instead of being shown the love of Christ, some only see the ones who judge and look down at others. That isn’t what we were called to do as God’s children.

    Thank you for your posts. I love reading them!

    05/7/12 4:58 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    2

    Thanks, Gina. Great idea handing out water to the protestors. Any word on how the protestors responded? I actually considered driving to Fayetteville yesterday to join them.

    05/7/12 8:47 PM | Comment Link

  • Gina said...

    3

    I think they were grateful. One long-time member and missionary brought some folks over to our church to use the restrooms. We weren’t at church yesterday but I thought I read that the protestors were being yelled at by some people. I can’t believe how some “Christians” act!

    05/7/12 9:13 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    4

    Well, it was a good idea to serve them. Kudos to your church for trying to bring a little light to a very dark situation.

    05/7/12 9:39 PM | Comment Link

  • john said...

    5

    the elephant in the room is race.
    every time i’ve been in downtown Raleigh
    and have seen protests at the GA, the
    whites are against A1 and the blacks
    are for A1. rather stark, too.

    05/8/12 6:46 PM | Comment Link

  • Matt said...

    6

    Bear in mind though, John, that’s just a small snapshot of a much larger picture. All the people I’ve talked (and I’ve talked a lot) who are for the amendment are white as I am. And that’s pretty dang white.

    05/8/12 6:57 PM | Comment Link

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