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I’m Concerned

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Margaret Romao Toigo

Tuesday, January 4, 2004

I want to share a wonderful Internet resource called Bible Gateway, a tool for reading and researching the Scriptures online in wide selection of languages and translations. Bible Gateway is maintained by Gospel Communications International, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian ministry dedicated to spreading the Gospel by means of the Internet and other media.

Gospel Communications International offers online guidance for many of life’s challenges. This page really comes in handy in times of spiritual need, such as when the spirit is tempted to the deadly sin of wrath, as mine was when I read this Los Angeles Times article about the uncompromising zealotry of Concerned Women For America.

Now, I could have simply sat down to my computer keyboard and unleashed my verbal rage at CWFA. But instead of doing that, I turned to Gospel Communications International’s online guidance page where I was reminded that even righteous anger — such as that directed toward the injustices of bigotry and oppression — can be twisted and made harmful if it causes us to sin. Ephesians 4:26 offered some very good advice, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

I prayed for the strength to resist tempation and the serenity to adhere to the principles Christ taught in Matthew 7:1-2, “1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” And then I praised His wisdom! Without reflecting upon it, I would have surrendered to the temptations of wrath and pride and passed judgement upon my brothers and sisters at CWFA.

However, as a matter of conscience, I feel that I must somehow reconcile the principle of not judging others while also giving consideration to the injustices that have been suffered by my brothers and sisters in the gay and lesbian community and how their fight for the recognition of their right to the secular, legal benefits and protections of marriage has apparently caused them to become an object of CWFA’s judgement.

As I perused CWFA’s talking points, thinking about how to word peaceful, non-judgemental rebuttals to the charges made therein, I realized that my brothers and sisters at CWFA are not prejudiced and judgemental, but rather that they are woefully misinformed about what the secular, legal recognition of same-sex marriage really means to American society, America’s churches and people of faith — but even that is a judgement, isn’t it?

Maybe all that I can really do is pray for their poor lost and tormented souls because the good people at CWFA, who have lobbied to preserve public displays of the Ten Commandments, cannot possibly realize that they have broken the very first one, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3), by looking to the United States government for spiritual salvation, instead of praying to God for it.

Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters at CWFA are not alone in the misdirection of their faith and prayers. Tragically, more and more people of the Christian faith have been unknowingly practicing idolatry, worshipping a graven image in the form of the U.S. government, instead of praying to God, as He commanded in Exodus 20:4-5, “4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

I will not judge any of them for it is not my place to judge the sins and virtues of my fellow man. I will pray for their confused souls because our brothers and sisters who have lost their way need charity and prayers, not prideful judgements and wrath. I will pray that they receive grace through Christ so that they might be able to find their way back to live by His wisdom. And I will pray that they find the strength and serenity, through faith, fellowship and prayer, to deal with the difficulties of living as Christians in a sinful world.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

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About Margaret Romao Toigo

  • As I perused CWFA’s talking points

    Every one of those talking points was pretty laughable. Number 7, for example, says ‘if we give marriage licenses for gay sex….’ that’s ridiculous. State sanctioned licenses aren’t for sex but for recognition of family. That does point out a key ideological difference in the two sides over marriage.

    People as conservative as CWFA see the marriage as a society sanctioned ‘license’ FOR sex. (procreation).

    But those of us on the Left see; with all the benefits, privileges and responsibilities, the legal recognition of marriage is about building a stable foundation for family, whether gay or straight, (most likely a family that already exists and isn’t waiting for a government sanctioned document allowing us to begin creating a family).

    Sex can and does take place in and outside of marriage, marriage is not a requirement to becoming a parent, etc. Heterosexual society itself has made a clear and separate distinction between sex and marriage, ‘gay activists’ didn’t do anything to that.

    It’s gutwrenching to see that the fight for the recognition of my family is being countered with such bogus B.S. as ‘we want to bring porn upon the world’, because so many people believe that garbage.

    What is unexplainable is how so many right wingers will parrot the rhetoric that marriage is the foundation of civilization, and then go on to try and explain why excluding gays and lesbians from marriage will help that foundation, but they do nothing about divorce, children born out of wedlock, etc. I mean if you really feel that strongly about marriage, I would think you would devote at least as much resources to combatting all issues that you perceive to be corrosive. Where are the Amendments penalizing for failing in marriage, whether it’s adultry or just divorcing? Where are the stiffer penalities for having children outside of wedlock? Well, if we buy into this conservative line of thinking, about marriage being instrumental to the survival of the human species, then those stiffer penalities are going to be introduced just as soon as they are done burning us gays and lesbians on the pyre. I mean if you truly see marriage as so important, you aren’t just going to focus on one ‘brush fire’ but you’re going to try and put out all the flames.

    This is what we, on the Left, talk about when we mention living under an oppressive regime, but the moderates who give the conservatives fuel don’t see it. So the conservatives continue on and we will soon come to the point where the creation and maintenance of your own family is completely regulated by the government for the good of society and under the banner of God.

    Maybe if more people understood just how far the Right is willing to go, then they would see exactly what ideology they are supporting?

  • took a while to get to the point. I felt like I was in a church, with all others snoring around me.

    A good point btw. I think.

  • I did a double-take on the second sentence of CWFA’s talking point #2, “Opposite-sex marriage is the natural means by which the human race reproduces,” and then my anger toward CWFA melted into pity.

    What radical groups like CWFA do not realize — and let’s not tell them, either — is that they actually help the cause of gay rights every time they get some press because they make the more mainstream organizations that are fighting against the recognition of same-sex marriage look they’re a bunch of bigoted religious fanatics, too — and they know that that narrows their appeal to the majority.

    The mainstream does not wish to be associated with radical groups like CWFA because the mainstream does not wish to be perceived as being prejudiced. And according to DontAmend.com, “The leaders of the anti-gay movement live in mortal fear of our successfully labeling them in the public mind as bigots.”

    According to every poll I have read, the majority is sympathtic to the cause of gay rights (the natural human virtue of justice is always in play even if some people do not recognize it as such), but it is still somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage.

    Patience. For, if the speed with which the gay rights movement has progressed in only 30 years is any indication, this will change for the better. And groups like CWFA will help in that endeavor.

    Try to avoid expressing anger — which is a deadly sin that leads to destruction right here on this Earth, in this life — and express pity instead. And do not judge, because then you will be judged, which defeats the purpose of thumping the “Bible Thumpers” with those selfsame Scriptures.

    The fight for the secular, legal recognition of same-sex marriage is more “winnable” than many people on both sides of the issue think it is. Just remember that old cliche about how one catches the greater number of proverbial flies.

  • Eric Olsen

    intentionally or not, this is a very clever and powerful subversion of language ususally used to argue the opposite side of gay rights issues – thanks Margaret!

  • powerful subversion of language ususally used to argue the opposite side of gay rights issues

    Thank you. And it was, indeed, intentional.

    Dale Carnegie once said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”

    In political debate, liberals often play the fools — even if liberal causes are not in the least bit foolish — because they not only criticize, condemn and complain, they forget the essential concept of talking in terms of their audience’s interests, instead of their own.

    What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?, written by Philip E. Agre, an associate professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a very interesting essay along these lines. It is a bit long and rambling, but it contains some real pearls of wisdom.

  • Eric Olsen

    I assumed it was intentional but you know what they sat about assuming – I shall not doubt your subtlety again

  • Margaret, I stumbled across Agre’s essay about a month ago. I have to say it definitely has pearls of wisdom.

    Dave Neiwert has a great 7 part essay (accessible from the front page) on the tactics of the Bush Admin. somewhere around part 4 or 5, it gets into public relations and language in much more detail than Agre (not to take away from him though). Dave gives a lot of societal examples as well as breaks down specific words and speeches. There’s so much there, it took me about two weeks to get through the whole thing.