Crossposted at Daily Kos
I'm working on writing up some of the forum on church and state in Ohio electoral politics, which I attended yesterday. Some of it, I'm transcribing, and other parts I'll try to sum up a bit of the back-and-forth that took place. So far, I've posted the opening remarks of Revs. Russell Johnson and Eric Williams.
There are also some articles about the forum in the Columbus Dispatch today:
Religious debate as old as the country
Faith’s place in politics debated
The second article mentions something that really caught my attention. Typically when Ken Blackwell is talking about Ted Strickland, he likes to make a point as referring to him as a psychologist or, even better, as a "prison psychologist". Rarely do we hear mention of the fact that Ted Strickland is also an ordained minister. Russell Johnson of the Ohio Restoration Project, *did* refer to *Reverend* Ted Strickland, but he did so to group him with the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Smooth.
The Dispatch article ends with:
When asked about it afterward, Johnson said, "I think Ted Strickland is the far left.
"Will he support the constitution passed by 62 percent of the voters on the definition of marriage? I think that’s a legitimate question."
Okay, Rev. Johnson, I have a question. The right side of the aisle yesterday made repeated references to Abraham Lincoln and his faith-based decision to abolish slavery. Did the *majority* of Americans at that time agree with him? Possibly they did, but I imagine that was not true of the majority in states that had been part of the Confederacy. So, when is it up to "the people" to decide, and when are leaders supposed to make bold decisions based on their (possibly faith-informed) understanding of what is right?
From Russell Johnson's opening remarks:
The hinges of history are moving in a way that I think there's going to be increasing numbers of Baptists and Catholics and Pentocostals and Methodists who are welding together to say yes to marriage in Ohio, and 62% came out, voted yes. In 11 states, 67 out of 71 newspapers came out against marriage amendments. The average vote of the people who voted was 70% in favor of the traditional definition of marriage.Well, Rev. Johnson, what if 70% of Americans had wanted to keep the right to own slaves? Would that have been the right thing to do?
As I wrote back in June, my husband and I were legally allowed to marry thanks to the actions of some "activist judges" in the late 1960s, who declared that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. There *were* people who used Bible verses and their understanding of "God's will" to argue that the races must remain separate. And how long would it have taken the majority of citizens in all states to vote to allow interracial marriage?
I guess this puts me to the "far left", along with Ted Strickland, but I have a hard time accepting the notion that, if the majority in society thinks your relationship is "icky", then the majority should be able to deny you the basic rights enjoyed by the rest of the population.
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