By Getsemani Yañez
In the midst of clear divisions this election year, we will be faced with even wider disenchantment and greater emotional charge. As a Christian and a democrat – yes, we can be both – I refuse to prostitute my God and my religion for the purposes of political capital. I am very troubled that others can do so with such ease, however. While I do believe the mayor and council failed miserably in their attempt to effect change in their first round of the domestic partnership talks, I do believe they had great reason to vote as they did. The fact is, however, we should have never let the matter escalate to the heights that it did. The only accomplishments we have to show for it are deeper divisions, a beat-up group in our society, and a recall effort that will have us dipping further into our pockets in the middle of a recession.
Throughout this entire debacle, I have continuously thought of two scriptures. One comes from Luke 20:25 in the matter of taxes, where Jesus plainly states, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give to God what belongs to God.” At a closer glance, one can clearly see that he is not only speaking of taxes. As men, we live under two laws – that of our government, and that of our Lord. It is up to us to live a life that honors our God and our beliefs while maintaining Caesar’s rules of order. Luckily, much has changed since the rule of Caesar. Thankfully, we live in a country of democratic processes. We live in a country that treasures freedom of religion and freedom to become people of self-governance and self-preservation. Our future depends and belongs to us, so long as we commit no harm to others – so long as we give Caesar what is Caesar’s. We are essentially ruled by documents that clearly speak of liberties and a pursuit of happiness regardless of race or religion. Why, then, should we allow our government to dictate our lifestyles beyond that which belongs to “Caesar”? We should not. It isn’t right from either a religious or a constitutional standpoint for a people’s lifestyle, be it chosen or natural, to be compromised due to our government’s will.
In ending, I would like to remind Christians of all denominations – including Catholics, of course – that we live by the New Testament. Jesus came to lighten our hearts and to make it easier for us to enter the gates of heaven. Jesus’ life was one of compassion, love, and inclusion. Which brings me to the second scripture in Romans 12:9-12, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” We are not on earth to cast stones, and we are not on earth to judge our fellow man. On the contrary, the New Testament tells us we are here to be our brother’s keeper, and we must attempt to walk the path that Jesus led through love and positive action: to clothe the poor, feed the hungry, and help the weak.
If this recall effort is truly a religious objection to domestic partnership benefits, I will leave you with one question. What Would Jesus Do? Regardless of your interpretation on the matter of sin and what it constitutes, would Jesus want to insure people, or not? And if you cannot or will not honestly come to a conclusion based on religious teachings by the Son of Man, then please, do not prostitute my faith. Rather, give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and be honest and faithful to God.