Pastor Tom Brown, You Are Not God [OPINION]
El Pasoans for Traditional Values and Pastor Tom Brown are still locked in a battle with Mayor John Cook, and city reps Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd over the domestic partner issues. EPTV and Brown wanted Cook et al kicked out office when all this began because they reinstated health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees. But now they say the fight is about voters' rights.
That's like saying the Civil War was fought over States' Rights. It was,the right of slave states to stay that way. There's no doubt the Civil War was fought over slavery, and there is no doubt El Pasoans for Traditional Values don't want gay people to have any rights, and that's why they want Cook, Byrd, and Ortega out. I don't fault them for having an opinion and voting their conscience as individuals, but they are setting up a dangerous precendent with their court case.
I don't have any problem with a person having a religious viewpoint when they go to the polls to vote, but when you get together as a group, raise money, use your church to get signatures on a petition, and shove your religious convictions down everyone's throats, that's a problem.
I'm pretty sure that if there was a group of people getting together to shove Sharia law down our throats, Pastor Brown and his minions would have a problem with that. There is a reason we have separation of church and state in our Constitution. The Founding Father's didn't wanted to safeguard against the formation of a state religion, but Brown and his group are opening the door for that very thing to happen.
If he gets his way, religious groups will be able to band together, raise money, use their churches to circulate petitions and get whatever law or ordinance they don't like pulled from the books. Pretty soon, we'll have other churches and religions doing the same thing, and whichever is the stronger and better financed will be the one who will be making the laws you live under. That scares the crap out of me. I'm Catholic, but I don't want the Church telling me who or what to vote for. I weigh my Catholic beliefs alongside my secular beliefs when I vote, but it's my vote, not my Church's. And Tom Brown, if you had written the proposed ordinance as a yes or no referendum on gay people, I wouldn't be saying a word about the outcome. But you had to get all cute with the wording and you tore the health benefits out from under hundreds of unsuspecting past and present city employees, and then called them collateral damage and said too bad, so sad you got caught in the crossfire.
If Tom Brown were acting as an individual, there would be no problem. But he isn't, and that's a problem. His lawyer said his church has the right to speak their minds, just like television stations and newspapers do. Sorry, Joel Oster, you're wrong. Newspapers endorse, but don't raise money, ciruculate petitions, or finance battles against elected officials. Television stations don't either, so your argument that Brown and his group are like the media is ridiculous at best. After all, your cohort in this case, Theresa Caballero, rails against the media incessantly, so it's surprising that your group would want to be associated with the media!
I don't care if you work for or against a candidate or office holder as an individual, and I don't care one way or another about the effect on the political careers of Cook, Byrd, and Ortega because of the recall election. I do, however, care about the door being thrown open to religion in politics. Politics and government are secular and need to stay that way. Don't believe me? Ask people under the crushing weight of the Taliban how much they like religion ruling their lives.