Texas Faith – Same-sex marriages and changing attitudes

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Clearly societal attitudes change in some key areas. And
religious organizations, like many other institutions, are forced to respond.
Eleven Texas Faith panelists at Dallas Morning News write their take on the

MIKE GHOUSE, President,
Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

No one has ever remained
unaffected by the change. So are religious organizations and individuals. The
conservatives of today would have been considered liberals by conservatives of
the fifties. In turn, they would have been liberals to the conservatives from
around the First World War.
Who has contributed most towards
favoring same-sex marriage? Of course, it is the conservatives! When the only
voices that oppose change accept the new reality, it seems the whole world has
The Times survey jump from 27% to 47% in 15 years was
obviously not by liberals alone. One after the other, conservative bastions of
religions have seen the need for change. The latest one is the Presbyterian
Church, which has opened its doors this year. Now, evangelicals are choosing
their words carefully to keep that door open.
President Obama has indeed become
a catalyst for this change. Right after he announced his personal take on the
issue, a host of organizations are starting to come around to his view. The
momentum will build.
The pattern was similar with
racial integration and civil rights. It takes one to take the bold stand and
others will follow. It was a big risk for Obama politically, but it was the
right thing to stand up for individual liberties, rights and freedom of expression.
Those, ironically, are true conservative values.

Most religious organizations are
moderate by nature, but take on a conservative posture to appease those who
bankroll them. A few will always remain ultra-conservative and opt to have
their way rather than change.

There is room for everyone to
seek their own umbrella, but change is inescapable. If not, we would have
remained in the caves, ridden camels, tilled the land, worn loin cloth and
hunted animals.

America is about freedom of the
spirit. There is nothing like it in the world. The mere presence on this land
impregnates one with frontier can-do attitudes.
The regressive approach of
Santorum and Bachman did not pan out. The society at large did not give them a
lift. Indeed, we have looked past Catholic Kennedy and African- American Obama/
And when it comes to the Republican nomination, Mormon Romney will get the
mantle. It is not the color of the skin, or religion. It is what you can do for
America that matters to Americans.
Except the anomaly in 2010
elections, we have punished the narrow attitudes in the past. With the fall of
the conservative candidates, we are witnessing embarrassing back- peddling by
self-proclaimed conservatives. It was not conservatism. Rather, politics at its
worse failed them.
I am proud of my America, where
merit and progressiveness is supported over jingoistic claims. We are setting
new standards in the world, where others can look up to us and model us in
creating societies where every human is valued rather than their sexual
orientation or race. Each one of the 312 million of us is a beneficiary of this
Muslims are evolving in their
take on same-sex marriage, just as Baha’is, Hindus, Sikhs and others while
Native Americans, Jews and Christians have a take on the issue. Muslim
institutions will remain silent, but individuals will be driving change to
knock off the resistance.
I have been deliberating the
statement of Dr. Aslam Abdullah, editor of the mainstream Muslim Observer, He
said: “However, Islam does recognize the rights of people to reject this
world view and acknowledges the freedom of people to adopt an alternative
perspective, with the admonition that people are responsible for the
consequences of their actions in the eyes of God.”
My own perspective is, as long as
anyone — gay, lesbian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Christian or Baha’i — is not
stealing your food, gas, clothing, money and car, he or she can live his life
the way he or she chooses. Society’s responsibility is limited to punishing the
individual for the acts that affect public safety and those acts that an
overwhelming majority agrees to abide by.
Ani Zonneveld, editor of the
progressive Muslim Values, caps my take very well, saying: “Regardless of
whether any individual agrees or disagrees with the religious acceptance of
homosexuality, America is about justice for all. If you consider yourself a
proud American, then same-sex marriage is a no brainer.
To see all
the opinions, please visit Dallas Morning News, Texas Faith column at:
# # #
MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and
offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker,
thinker and a writer on pluralism,
politics, civic affairs,
Islam, India, Israel, peace and
justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on
Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to
the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning
and regularly at Huffington
and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.com is
updated daily.

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