To the Editor:
I am writing in response to a letter written by David Ricker, which was published in last week’s LCN.
In his statement of opposition to passing Question 1, allowing marriage equality for all residents in Maine, Mr. Ricker outlined his “bottom line of absolute truth.” Referring to the Book of Genesis, he cited its opening verse: “In the beginning, God created…” and then he stated his belief that the “Almighty Sovereign God, and not the government or Constitution, has the right and authority to make rules.”
I am not aware of such a sovereign God whose commandments or rules override the authority of our Constitution or government. One of the keystones of any democracy is that its citizens must have freedoms of personal and religious choice. The First Amendment of the Constitution protects all citizens from state mandated religion, thus allowing us the freedom to choose and practice our own beliefs.
According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life website (www.pewforum.org), approximately 78 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians, 5 percent identify as subscribing to “other religions” and 16 percent report themselves as being “unaffiliated.”
Nearly one in five Americans, therefore, do not identify with Christian traditions. While I absolutely respect Mr. Ricker’s right to believe in the authority of his own sovereign, I do not agree that he has the right to assume that his understanding of religion and choice should pertain to all citizens.
Should a government declare a single religion or doctrine as the law of the land, democracy – and its rights and responsibilities, will invariably take a back seat to discrimination and persecution.
When the choice to engage in same sex marriage is denied, marriage becomes a privilege for “traditional” couples, and same sex couples, thereby, become segregated.
My “bottom line of absolute truth” is that segregation equals discrimination, which is always unacceptable and can not be tolerated.
Joy Knowlton, Nobleboro