Long ago, mom taught me not to discuss politics or religion with people. Well, she told me that anyway. I can’t say that I learned the concept, though it made more sense to me in the days when there were liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, and you didn’t want to start a fight to make things worse. But in recent years the two sides hardened their positions and culled their respective herds of ideologically questionable members such that nobody could talk to anybody on the other side, because there were no bridge-builders left. To me, that seemed a sure recipe for disaster, so I have tried over the years to engage in dialogue across the great divide. I have attempted to remain civil. In the heat of ‘battle’ I have failed at that more than once, never neglecting to apologize and mend fences. I failed again today. And decided I’m done with bridge-building in at least one area. Namely, trying to have a rational discussion with an evangelical Christian who feels that they are on a mission.
The following is an exact transcript (names redacted) of a Facebook conversation, which followed the passage of the North Carolina constitutional Amendment One yesterday, which outlawed any form of civil union other than a marriage between a man and a woman.
I admit that I picked the fight by weighing in on someone’s post, and that I became increasingly snarky.
My old friend “Anne” leads off with her post, soon to be joined by “Cathy”, a kindred spirit.
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Anne: “The Lord is hearing the cries of HIS people and is healing our land! Praise the Lord for this victory!” (passage of Amendment One)
Anne: “For my brothers and sister who struggle with homosexuality I am committed to pray that the Lord will show you the truth that will set you free! I truly love you with the love of the Lord who created YOU and wants to know HIS truth!”
Me: “Despite the best efforts of our forefathers, yesterday we weakened that wall separating church and state. The ‘cries’ I hear are theirs, and those of tolerance-loving people of all faiths.”
Cathy: “The “separation of church and state” (which is wording that doesn’t even exist in the constitution) was to keep the affairs of government out of the church, not to keep morality and truth out of government. Just because people have a “right to choose” doesn’t make their choices right. If I “choose” to slap someone can I justify that based upon my individual “rights”? Yet everyday we murder thousands of unborn children and devise ways to live lifestyles that are Biblically wrong and we do it all in the name of “choice”. The champions of “CHOICE” would be quick to prosecute me for my violent behavior in slapping someone or tearing down a forest, but will justify their own murderous and devious behavior against an unborn child and the GOD-instituted way of marriage and the family. Choice is the biggest lie to be shoved down the throats of the nations of the world. And tolerance is really only tolerance if Christians are okay with the wrong, wicked, and immoral things the world wants to do. Tolerance is something liberals want to beat conservatives down with, but it isn’t something that liberals want to extend to conservatives. It’s such a double standard.”
Me: “You are correct that the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution. You should have stopped there. It is a concept espoused in the writings of Thomas Jefferson, interpreting the intent of the Constitution. The word ‘God’ does not exist in the Constitution either. And the separation was most certainly to keep religion out of government, thus the phrase: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”. You won a battle yesterday. You will lose this war.”
Anne (to me): “No…YOU have already lost the war you just don’t see it yet…but one day my friend, EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is LORD! And just because you don’t believe that does not make it any less true that YOUR knee will bow as well my friend. The sad part is that unless you come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, you will not be a part of the miracle of heaven…and that breaks my heart!”
Cathy: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. AND WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.”
“This is how the war ends. Christ is victorious. Saved, born again, believers will be found written in the book of life. All others who rejected Christ are not in the book. I pray that your heart will be touched with the truth.”
Me: “From the ALL CAPS, I suspect that you’d prefer me in the lake of fire. Let’s each keep a book. You can have the bible and leave me the Constitution.”
Cathy: “I would absolutely NOT prefer anyone in the lake of fire. However, God believes in choice also. We each choose where our eternity will be. The all caps was only to show the emphasis on the seriousness of our choices. There are choices that lead to light and life and there are choices that lead to darkness and death. I can assure you that the choice of a nation to forsake the Creator and kill unborn babies and defy God’s plan for marriage will lead to darkness and death. I don’t know why you believe that Christians are haters. Standing firmly on rock solid truth is not hate. It actually says: I love the Lord enough that I will not compromise what He has said, and I love others enough to try and show them that Christ loves them and wants them to choose Him. Not eternity in the lake of fire. The constitution is considered by God to be part of the wood, hay, and stubble that will all be burned away. The Bible is eternal. I’ll gladly keep it. And as twisted as the Constitution has become, I’d much rather keep the one that hasn’t changed ever and has no amendments to it. It is perfect in its entirety. I’ll gladly let you have the ever-shifting, ever-changing, subject to human interpretation from generation to generation constitution. I’ll keep the KJV!”
Anne (to me): “Your response to my last post is typical of so many liberals who read something and make it say what you want it to say…your words were strickly for affect and it does not work anymore. You obviously did not read the last past of the post as I said that it saddened me that you may not spend eternity in heaven…how do you translate that into “I prefer that you’d spend eternity in the lake of fire”? I have learned to expect this kind of anger from the left and those who support the things that are happening in our world that is causing it to crumble. As I have said so many times all I want is for you to know Christ…the one who saves and wants you to know HIM. Think what you want but that is the absolute truth…and by the way, the constitution belongs to ME as well…and the bible is yours too, maybe you should read it as much as you do the constitution.”
“There is way to much personal interpretation of the constitution and as Cathy said, it has changed so many times over the years that no one recognizes it anymore!”
Me: “OK. This conversation has become satire. Not a single word in the Constitution has changed. The original sits under glass for all to read. Amendments are equally documented, only added after a defined process and ratified by voters in 3/4 of the states. The Bible on the other hand was written in languages other than English, over hundreds of years, by dozens of writers documenting events decades in the past. After that, there have been translations and interpretations, some clearly done for political reasons, for example the KJV. Regardless, your interpretation is apparently the only true god that has ever existed, and he works through you, with the intent of gaining dominion over all of the rest of us.”
“I can no longer have a conversation with someone who is so convinced that her personal version of God needs to rule my world, that she is incapable of reason.”
Cathy (to me): “:( my heart is sad for you.”
Anne (to me): “What you don’t like is that I am incapable of YOUR reason…and that makes you so mad. I have no personal ‘version’ of God, there is only one…and I would never try to rule your world…That is the Lords job. No matter what I am going to pray for you!”
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Is it asking to much to be able to have a conversation about the meaning of a constitutional amendment?