Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

November 18, 2012

Voters recognized civil rights of all citizens

One of the nice things resulting from our recent election is that fairness and tolerance were given a positive outcome by passage of the Marriage Equality Bill, giving gays the legal right to marry.

The basis for the decision of voters was clearly one that rejected the claim of opponents that our laws should be based on religious beliefs. Instead, ballots were cast in favor of recognizing the civil rights of all our citizens.

Maryland joins the ranks of states that have bestowed upon gays the right to exchange wedding vows. Unique was the fact that there was no judicial or legislative edict bringing about this momentous change. Rather, it was the will of the majority of citizens to change a culture of intolerance and inequality. Starting Jan. 1, citizens of our state can wed, no matter what their sexual orientation might be. To this I shout out three cheers of approval for those gays who want to let the wedding bells chime in honor of their love for each other.

Throughout the contentious months leading up to the referendum on gay marriage, it was obvious that virtually all objections were based on a Christian fundamentalist reading of the Bible. The problem with using this as a foundation of discrimination is that it ignores the fact that our Constitution is a secular document to its core, and equal rights have nothing to do with what any religious doctrine claims as being the truth. Christianity is not singled out in this regard, for our Constitution is beholden to no religion. It matters not whether you refer to Islam and Sharia-based law, or Christianity and Bible-based law; neither has legal standing in trying to impose their beliefs when it comes to equal rights and the law, as enumerated in our secular document of governance.

I have a neighbor who is wont to display Bible quotes on the post of his mailbox. The current ones state, “Abhor those who are evil,” and “Cleave to that which is good.” Not being a Christian, it made me wonder how one knows who is evil and who is good. The reference to Romans 12:9, the source of these quotes, sent me once again “searching for answers to life’s perplexing questions.”

I found a reference to a noted Christian theologian by the name of Thomas Barnes, who was widely read in the 1830s through his Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: “The word ‘evil’ here has reference to malice, or unkindness, rather than to evil in general.” Cleave to that which is good “means that Christians should be firmly attached to what is good, and not separate or part from it. The good here referred to is particularly what pertains to benevolence — to all people, and especially to Christians.” It sounds pretty straight-forward. Don’t support malice and be kind to all people. A splendid philosophy, but totally opposite compared to how fundamentalist Christians rant against homosexuals.

Maybe, just maybe, those who are so adamantly intolerant of gays have been misled by Satanic verses found in the Bible. The precedent for this is well established, given that the Bible has been used to justify slavery, segregation, and the prohibition against interracial marriage. Remarkably, it was only recently that the Mormon Church came to the realization that God had changed his mind about African-Americans being allowed in their church. If centuries ago Satanic verses were included in the Koran, it’s certainly feasible that the same thing could have happened in the Bible. Thankfully, our secular Constitution protects us from such follies, and thus Maryland citizens welcome gays to full equality.

Jeffrey Davis

Swanton

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo