December 18, 2014
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Love and marriage

To the Editor:

Same-sex marriage is up for debate again this year and Rhode Islanders must continue to weigh in on how the General Assembly steers our state at this critical crossroad. This issue is being taken beyond the civil rights every adult should possess to care for one other. The bounds of love are in dispute and must be clarified. Perhaps this deliberation will be a turning point and guide us to where we should be in the 21st century. At the very least, I hope citizens continue to challenge their representatives. Rhode Island is at the bottom in many categories and I offer some thoughts for recovering.

With all our emotions and viewpoints, doesn’t any sound, personal choice need a reference point in addition to parameters? For the majority who believe a Creator put the universe in motion, envision this unselfish act as pure love. God desired to share existence and loved us all into life. It begins that simply, does it not? Yet with each person’s strengths and weaknesses, life becomes very complex and even love must have conditions. It took fatherhood to make me appreciate this and how others join up in this realm has to be nurtured sensitively. I submit this as a starting point for reflection.

For couples striving to create a family or others who just want to share their lives and live in harmony with the rest of society, we all have a responsibility to create or support the best possible conditions for the next generation. If and how we evolve hinges on how this unique union is secured, as well as how the participants conduct themselves within its bounds. So what foundation surpasses the offering of the entire human influence to our children as one committed man joined to one committed woman? Who can disagree that any civilization cannot endure if this relationship is not supported ethically with financial laws rewarding the mother-father family? I propose that marriage can therefore only be completely defined by this union.

With that being said, how do we evolve within the technology and intellect of our times to include everyone who wants to enter into a committed, loving relationship? Who has the right to tell another whom and to what extent they should love someone else? How do we know we are making the correct decision, especially if our conscience is torn between two sides? What should we employ to resolve this important issue along with all the other imperatives our society faces? The more times change, the more they stay the same! These are questions each generation of every civilization has dealt with. If we do not confide in our Creator, can all our intelligence and objectivity guide us completely?

However each of us interprets their sacred doctrines and chooses which codes to live by, sexuality really needs to be reassessed. Look at the trends in behavior across our country. Sexual content pervades TV and movies. Pornography has flourished electronically. Bumping and grinding is now a dance style at school dances. Adultery destroys most marriages. Abortion has taken over 55 million lives since its legality 40 years ago. Am I overreacting or are America’s addictions making us morally as well as financially bankrupt? Is it wrong for me to concede that sexual activity outside of creating life opens the door to a misuse of this great gift our Creator gave us? Do Rhode Islanders think altering marriage would be a further exploitation of love or an advancement in human rights?

In response, what does your gut tell you? Look around. The disrespect for life in all of its stages is alarming. My heart and mind do not believe we are repressing morality by supporting traditional, sanctified “levels” of love for distinct relationships. The relativity in morality is taking both homosexual and heterosexual people down a regretful slope. Caring for anyone emotionally and financially for a lifetime is a part of love I believe we all should revere. Having laws to share finances, medical decisions along with the list of civil rights supporting this compassion should be enacted. My ethics must draw the line when relationships outside of husband and wife become sexual and look to society to support it. Compassion, rights, reason, morality, faith, natural design and so on must all be considered along with their implications. Do homosexual couples feel they are not bypassing the system by taking a seed from a woman or a man to complete their family? Did Jesus symbolically choose Joseph and Mary for parents? Should society approve of a marriage between any two people including, say, directly related siblings? What about a man or woman who can love and care for multiple partners? Altering marriage will not support the reverence required of life from conception to natural death.

Please hear me out. Through grace, my shortcomings prevent me to judge but implore citizens to engage their consciences. When I held my first child right after her birth, the gratitude, the pride, the sense of responsibility along with all the rest of what carries a man’s love into a whole new dimension shined through. I can only imagine a woman’s experience, as a mother, has to be that much more fulfilling having the physical bond to her children as well. Thinking my cup runneth over, along comes another beautiful life to share and brighten my days even more. Without a doubt, my family is the most rewarding part of my life. My Creator has given me a taste of His realm. And through all my strengths and weaknesses, I see the importance of following God’s teachings. I wish this degree of love and faith for everyone and I believe anyone could reach this place intended for us if they so desired.

It is time for Rhode Island to do some soul searching and regroup. Are we truly evolving into better people with the major downturns in just about every measure of our state’s health? Is it wise to use our free will and challenge the Almighty, especially when most believe He will ultimately arbitrate? For those who separate church and state, didn’t our nation’s civil rights arise from inalienable rights? Let your representatives know what you believe is the right thing to do. This is one of those big decisions Rhode Island needs to get right.

Bob Smith

Cranston


Comments
3 comments on this item

According to the R.C.,Mary was a virgin,so she didn't need Joseph for the procreative act. While on the subject of procreation,the Church still teaches that we all descended from Adam and Eve.They had two sons,Cain and Abel.Then what happened? Incest? A relative of mine was buried the other day,and the priest said that she will be raised up at the end of time and be judged. That could be 100,000,000 years from now. That's a lot of time in Limbo. The other day,an evangelical pastor was preaching on TV,and the people in the audience were dutifully taking notes.At one time he was describing paradise and torment {heaven & hell},which he said was in the middle of the earth.Not one hand went up.

I guess my point is,when religions start to confront physical and logical realities,perhaps more people would take them seriously.

Meantime,don't confuse religious traditions of matrimony with civil laws on marriage. The simple fact is that the foolish biases that most of us who attended religious school were brought up in led to sad beliefs that gay and lesbian people are deviant,and abnormal. They are not,any more than the"straight" population.Indeed,I was instructed by nuns not to associate with Protestant children of my age, because they were all "going to hell". Maybe the real reason was that they could expose me to different ideas. Let's open our minds and hearts.

@citizenkane. A number of critical people, like yourself, always tell us about their experiences in "religious school". All those experiences were apparently negative, and those nuns, wow, what a cruel bunch. I have no idea what school you went to, maybe you can tell us, but I do know I have never met someone that had experiences like you.

Saint Paul's,in Edgewood. Wasn't totally repressive,I'm simply pointing out the absurdity of the logic,and the inability of the Church to face facts. Most of the nuns were quite nice, and I can't think of one friend who took the admonition about Protestants seriously.

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