Archives For equality

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The gay marriage debate is front and center right now and if you are like me you are probably tired of all the equal signs and posts from either side of the argument. I have my own religiously held views about gay marriage but that’s not what I want to write about here. If you step back a little about the bigger picture of this issue than it’s important to look at exactly what is being discussed – Marriage!

What is marriage is the question being posed before the Supreme Court. What is marriage is the question we all need to ask ourselves. Quite frankly it is a bit hypocritical for the Christian believers to uphold the sanctity of marriage when the divorce rate among Christians is almost as high as with in the secular community.

I don’t have some great theological definition of what marriage is or should be. I only have my life experience of being married for almost 17 years. What I do know is that the equal sign has nothing to do with marriage. Early on in my marriage I bought in to society’s lie of equal partnership and that 50/50 equation of love and respect. The more I tallied up my results in my marriage the more I came up with an uneven score. I realized that keeping score is exhausting in a relationship and the more I did the more unhappy I was in my marriage. When I decided to let go of the equality equation, I began to feel what the sanctity of marriage was all about.

It is basically all about faith. It is the belief that even in the most difficult times my marriage will stand and live up to the vows we both made to each other. What a reflection of my faith in God. Like my marriage, I too have made a commitment to Christ. I have not always been the most faithful contributing partner in my union with Christ. However, God is always there to forgive and love me when I have broken that love and respect. I don’t hold score in my faith with God and I shouldn’t in my relationship with my husband. Marriage is a mirror of God’s love in an earthly form. It’s a daily reminder that among the ups and downs of life God is there loving me and devoted to me even through my marriage.

I don’t think the reflection of Christ in marriage is spoken enough with in the Christian community. Perhaps it is lost in psychological methods and reasoning. In the marriage debate in society it is all about equal love and respect. However, it is easy to love and respect someone just as easy as it is to break it. If our expectations of marriage are so equally calculated than it is understandable why so many people don’t live up to them. For me, understanding God’s depth of love for me has helped me to realize what exactly the sanctity of marriage is. It is a holy vow that cannot be put into any mathematical equation because faith cannot be calculated.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”    –  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have always wondered what Martin Luther King, Jr.’s opinion would be regarding affirmative action. I think if he were still alive today he would agree that racially we have come a long way in this country. However, as a man who fought tirelessly for others to judge on the basis of character and not color, would affirmative action be his idea of racial progress?

My daughter recently filled out an application for a “specialty” high school. This school is extremely competitive and the requirements to apply are supposed to be based solely on academic performance. We both went to an introduction to the school and I was very impressed. Those of us sitting in the auditorium were of various races and cultures and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of excitement. If my daughter was accepted she would have the opportunity to go to school with not only students who are committed to their education but with diverse cultures.

She began the application process and was filling out her paperwork and asked me what she should fill out for the race question. I told her (like I do myself on all forms) to leave it blank. “I can’t, she explained. It says I have to fill it out or the application will be considered incomplete.” Sure enough on this form the race question was not optional. In fact, she had to find her code to fill in. There were over 20 options you could fill out depending on your ethnicity with up to three combinations of your blending cultures. My daughter had one option…white. I guess her Irish or Slovakia heritage didn’t count because the color of her skin is simply white.

My disappointment about this application is not because they require you to define your specific ethnicity or even that they don’t bother to realize that the white race is also diverse. My frustration is that now no matter who applies to this school whether it be my daughter or any other student of any ethnicity, race is a factor. That simple box with that specific code tells me that education, character and intelligence are not the primary focus of that school. A student may or may not be accepted to that school but the question of whether race was a deciding factor will always be an issue.

My generation grew up on the pendulum upswing of the Civil Rights Movement. We were taught the injustices of inequality and we were raised to not view people based on the color of their skin. Yet almost fifty years later, we still have to fill out that race box for almost every application process whether it is for a job or an education opportunity. Has Affirmative Action really balanced out the pendulum swing or is it just swinging back the opposite way? Why is the color of a person’s skin still a factor in our society? I know one thing. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that character and intelligence are not tied to the color of one’s skin. I am teaching my daughter that principle even if our educational institutions cannot think critically beyond their own reasons for racial preferences.