Monday, September 24, 2007

Response to a Liberty Tree Magazine Article

I was extremely disappointed on reading Kenn Gividen’s “Gay Agenda is Not Libertarian” in the September issue of Liberty Tree Magazine and felt a reply was in order.

First let me make a few points. I've known Kenn Gividen for a number of years now as we are both active in the Libertarian Party. I've voted for Kenn when he ran for Governor and I will vote for Kenn again if given the chance. I myself have been active in the LP for almost 10 years at a local, state and even national level. I've been active to a point where I ran and won a seat on the Greenfield City Council eight years ago. No small feat for a Libertarian. I think you could say I know Libertarians across the country and across the spectrum.

I'm also a Christian, brought up in the Pilgrim Holiness and Free Methodist Churches. I'm now an active ELCA Lutheran, currently on the St James Church Council and a board member of the non-denominational Love INC of Hancock County, an organization whose goal is "To mobilize local churches to transform lives of those in our community." I've also been married to the same women since 1978 and we have two kids. I think I can also speak to the Christian philosophy.

Without speaking in jest, this is the first mistake I've seen Kenn make. It pains me that it is such a hurtful mistake to Libertarians, gays and even Christians. Kenn has done exactly what so many have done to dedicated Christians over the years... he painted with too wide a brush and tried too hard to write to what he felt was the reader of the moment. In other words, he participated in “stroking,” as he called it.

I attended (along with Kenn if I remember correctly) the meeting where the LP was asked to support SJR7. We felt that SJR7 wasn’t about extra rights. The issue was asking for the same rights granted to you and me. The rights for all people to be as happy as they feel they can be just like you and me. It shouldn’t make any difference that they are sinners… just like you and me.

We are talking about people here. There is no more an all encompassing Gay Agenda about recruiting and getting special rights than there is a Christian Agenda where all movie theatres and dance halls have to be closed and TV's tossed out of the homes for the good of the youth. A few groups from both sides of the tracks and some individuals may have either of those sets of wants, but you and I both know that folks at both ends of the spectrum are a distinct minority.

As a Christian and as a Libertarian, I find it unthinkable that anyone would insist that any private group would be forced to associate or share their properties with a group that they felt was diametrically in opposition to their philosophy. The boy scouts shouldn't be forced to permit gays or pedophiles into their private club, churches shouldn't be forced to hire gays or adulterers if they choose not to and thoughts should not be a crime.

But here we find Kenn, “stroking” the reader and presenting only a portion of the story. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association had requested that the property in question be considered “public” by a state government board. In return, they were given a substantial tax break. A mixture of poor research and planning by the OGCMA, a plethora of confusing and overbearing laws written by the folks that many of you have voted for in the past and activists with poor taste resulted in that mess. It was truly a team effort.

How does the Christian Libertarian feel about the gay issue? Just like every other sinner, we invite them to church to hear the word of God. We show them daily how Christians are supposed to act... inclusive and with grace, hoping they get the point and decide to take the right path.

The ELCA is currently going through the discussion of permitting homosexual pastors in active relationships and of permitting the weddings of gay couples. I've been outspokenly against both. While every pastor is a sinner, we don't permit blatant murderers or thieves or adulterers to hold the pulpit. I don’t believe we should condone the marriage of homosexuals in our churches. That sends the wrong message to our youth and to society as a whole.

Am I telling the government to use its power to make people live like a Christian? No, and if any person chooses to take that path they are clearly going against the wishes of Christ. You and I have been clearly told to tell sinners the good news. If rejected, we are only to brush the dust from our feet as we go down the road looking for the next sinner.

Kenn, I love you and I love what you’ve done in both the Christian and Libertarian communities over the years. One slip won’t change that.